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Rx: take two pens and call me.

Regarding Dr. Alex V. Levin's guest editorial, "Do We Really Need the Gifts?" (Feb. 1, 2007, p. 8), it is generally accepted that all interactions with the pharmaceutical industry affect prescribing decisions whether physicians know it or not.

I am convinced that any such influence is minimal in spite of accusations to the contrary. It is highly arrogant of medical publication editors as well as program directors at academic institutions to conclude that any "gift," no matter how trivial, has such an influence.

Doctors who believe that refusing to take pens, lunches, dinners, and product samples places them in a position of purity are akin to Don Quixote fighting windmills rather than the real dragon. These perquisites, which I admit that I take, obligate me only to listen to the message. They are not a quid pro quo for prescribing. Unless academic medicine and medical publications recognize that they are a huge part of the problem and are not the solution, I will continue to deal with the drug companies in the way that I have for years.

Michael H. Eidelman, M.D.

Farmington Hills, Mich.
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Title Annotation:LETTERS
Author:Eidelman, Michael H.
Publication:Internal Medicine News
Article Type:Letter to the editor
Date:Apr 1, 2007
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