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Minor gifts from pharmaceutical companies to doctors: A comparison between psychiatry and general medicine

Ekaterina Avituv Frenkel , David Israeli, Azgad Gold, David Serfaty, Rael D Strous

DOI: 10.20529/IJME.2020.03


Pharmaceutical companies in countries that have community-oriented models of healthcare, unlike other countries with highly privatised healthcare systems, such as the United States, cannot legally advertise medications directly to patients. Thus, the physician is entirely responsible for choosing the right medication, and needs to take important professional and ethical concerns into consideration during this decision-making process. Pharmaceutical companies invest considerably in in marketing products to physicians. Often, this is in the form of “minor gifts” to the physician. This study examines variations in the number and type of such minor gifts present in the offices of psychiatrists and internists in various medical contexts in Israel. Our results showed that psychiatrists received more minor gifts than physicians in general hospitals. No significant differences were found between inpatient and outpatient psychiatric departments. It is important to increase awareness and highlight the impact of exposure to minor gifts as advertising products on doctors in order to avoid bias and maintain objectivity in clinical judgement regarding pharmacological management of patients. Keywords: Pharmaceutical, gifts, ethics, physicians

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