Don’t let anyone tell you drug companies wining and dining doctors is a thing of the past. Sadly, these hidden flows of influence are at epidemic proportions, with almost 30,000 events every year where pharma picks up the tab.
I’ve been researching this field for more than two decades and while transparency and public scrutiny has grown steadily, unhealthy promotion continues. Today, I’m part of a team at Sydney and Bond Universities who’ve just published an analysis in BMJ Open of 116,000 events that took place over four years to 2015, at a cost of $290 million. To give a flavour, there was the $82-a-head meal at Sydney’s Banjo Patterson restaurant, where lucky GPs learned about the latest evidence on cholesterol – courtesy of Pfizer, the maker of one of the best-selling anti-cholesterol drugs of all time. And then there was the single conference for 300 specialists at a flash
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