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The FDA is paying physicians to participate in a 15-minute
telephone survey about direct to consumer television advertising. The
agency plans to call at least 500 physicians, half of them specialists
likely to prescribe the kind of products pharmaceutical companies are
promoting to consumers. The FDA claims it would be too difficult to get
physicians to respond without a monetary incentive. Dr. James C. Martin,
president-elect of the American Academy of Family Physicians,
doesn't agree. Drug prescriptions and consultations are an
important part of patient care. For that reason, "we would want to
provide appropriate feedback" to the FDA, he says. Physicians were
the target of roughly 85% of the total spending on prescription drug promotion in the year 2000 (N. Engl. J. Med. 346:498-505, 2002).