[Also see: "Why Does GSK Prefer New York Physicians & Will Governor Patterson Ruin It for Them?
by Sharon Ufberg
Pharmaceutical sales reps in New York are about to receive another challenge. Governor David Paterson wants more restrictions on gifts pharmaceutical companies are permitted to give to doctors. This would add New York to several other states that are enacting legislation to restrict Pharma from promoting specific drug sales by offering gifts, meals and trips to doctors in the hopes of persuading them to dispense their drug of choice.
Pharmaceutical marketing is big business and groups such as AARP, support Governor Paterson’s proposal. “Cracking down on the gifts that the drug industry gives to doctors could lead to more independent prescribing by physicians," said Bill Ferris, a lobbyist for AARP.
Doctors, for years, have benefitted from the perks of drug reps visiting their offices, arms full of free office supplies, mugs, and expensive meals for the entire staff. Coupled with boxes of free samples and often biased product information, this routine kept certain drugs more readily available to recommend to patients despite other lower cost alternatives.
Pharma argues that sales reps provide doctors with current information and new options that they have no time to access while maintaining a busy practice. The pharmaceutical industry is fighting against the Governor’s proposed restrictions.