Don't put all the blame on pharma

According to this article from The Age (Australia), docs often demand gifts from pharma. A snip:

    THE biggest investigation into gifts to medical specialists has found they actively ask for gifts from companies worth between $50 and $100,000.

    The requests extend to money for nurses' salaries, donations to their departments, computers, microwaves, journals, textbooks, CDs -- even funds for a Christmas party.

It also says:

    Of the one in two specialists offered travel to conferences, two-thirds accepted and most attended the meetings as audience members, not speakers. The authors -- who included ethics and medical professors from the University of Sydney and the University of Newcastle -- recommended in their report the end of direct payments from drug companies for travel. Industry funds for travel should be distributed through an independent group, the report said.

This reminds me of an editorial I wrote a while back for Medical Meetings about how docs sometimes try to "extort" commercial support for their CME programs. The blame goes both ways.

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