Health Inc.

Doctors Back Away From Industry. A Little

A nationwide survey of doctors shows they're taking less of what the drug and medical device industries are offering these days.

money and a stethoscope i
iStockphoto.com
money and a stethoscope
iStockphoto.com

But the vast majority of doctors still have some kind of financial relationship with industry, according to a study published in the latest Archives of Internal Medicine.

About 8 in 10 doctors reported some sort of relationship with industry in 2009. That's down from about 9 in 10 when the survey was done in 2004.

What sorts of things does that include?

Free samples of drugs: About 63 percent of the surveyed doctors accepted those last year compared with 78 percent in 2009.

Gifts (meals and drinks mostly): Some 71 percent of docs took those in the recent survey compared with 83 percent five years earlier.

Direct payments (mainly for speaking and consulting): About 14 percent of docs say they got paid for something they did for industry in 2009. That's half the proportion who said that in 2004.

The research was funded by the nonprofit Institute on Medicine as a Profession.

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