A new study in JAMA conducted by researchers at Carnegie Mellon University shows medical residents believe they deserve gifts and other compensation from pharmaceutical companies because of how hard they work, reports the Wall Street Journal Health Blog's Katherine Hobson. The researchers surveyed 301 resident physicians about the merits of receiving gifts. One group was first asked to disclose the "sacrifices" they'd made throughout their training, such as losing sleep and accruing debt; 47.5 percent of these respondents said it was alright to take gifts from industry, whereas only 21.7 percent of the control group said so, Hobson says. Another group, asked about "stagnant salaries and rising debt levels" in the medical profession, was even more likely to say it was okay to take gifts — 60.3 percent agreed. "L’Oréal once pitched its more-expensive-than-average lip glosses and shampoos with the slogan 'Because I’m worth it.' Physicians may be unconsciously adopting that same line when they rationalize the acceptance of gifts from pharma companies," Hobson says. Study co-author George Loewenstein says the only way to fix this problem is to eliminate conflicts-of-interest.
Sep 15, 2010