Hello! You are part of a community of millions who seek out Democracy Now! for ad-free daily news you can trust. Maybe you come for our daily headlines. Maybe you come for our in-depth stories that expose corporate and government abuses of power and lift up the voices of ordinary people working to make change in extraordinary times. We produce all of this news at a fraction of the budget of a commercial news operation. We do this without ads, government funding or corporate sponsorship. How? This model of news depends on support from viewers and listeners like you. Today, less than 1% of our visitors support Democracy Now! with a donation each year. If even 3% of our website visitors donated just $12 per month, we could cover our basic operating expenses for a year. Pretty amazing right? If you visit us daily or weekly or even just once a month, now is a great time to make a monthly contribution.

Your Donation: $
Wednesday, June 26, 2002 FULL SHOW | HEADLINES | PREVIOUS: Lawmakers, Activists, Health Activists Announce a...

Hooked Ondrug Companies: As the Pharmaceutical Industry Spends Billions On Gifts for Doctors to Persuade Them to Prescribe Their Medicines, a Debate On Industry Influence in Medicine

download:   Video Get CD/DVD More Formats
This is viewer supported news

Last week on Democracy Now! we reported on a multi-million dollar Republican fundraiser hosted by President Bush and underwritten by the pharmaceutical industry. Drug companies paid as much as $250,000 for a seat at the legislative table. Just two days before the drug gala, Republicans unveiled a prescription drug plan backed by the industry. Just one day after the gala, the House Energy and Commerce Committee approved the plan.

But legislators are not the only ones hooked on drug companies. Doctors are also targets. Pharmaceutical companies shower physicians with gifts, lunches, concert tickets and free vacations to promote their products. Some marketers pay doctors to write so-called 'research articles' on their drugs in medical journals. In some cases, the companies hire marketing firms to write the first drafts.

These tactics have prompted a growing chorus of criticism from doctors and patient advocates who say the junkets erode the integrity of the medical profession. National organizations such as the American Medical Association and the American College of Physicians have recently issued guidelines regarding these gifts.

Democratic Governor Howard Dean of Vermont recently signed a bill that required drug companies to report to the state any gifts to doctors worth more than $25.


  • Dr. Howard Dean, Governor of Vermont.
  • Dr. Robert Goodman, Assistant Professor of Clinical MedicineColumbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons and founder of the No Free Lunch campaign.
  • Dr. John Kelly, Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), Senior Vice President for Scientific and Regulatory Affairs.
  • Jaya Agrawal, Former President, American Medical Student Association (AMSA). She is a medical student and activist who is taking the "No Free Lunch" campaign to physicians in training.
  • Dr. Richard Clarfeld, medical director of the Seattle Polyclinic. He started billing pharmaceutical representatives for visiting his staff physicians.

Related links:


  • I Want You To Hurt Like I Do ­ Randy Newman, Land of Dreams (Reprise Records).
  • God’s Away On Business ­ Tom Waits, Blood Money (Anti Records).

Creative Commons License The original content of this program is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. Please attribute legal copies of this work to democracynow.org. Some of the work(s) that this program incorporates, however, may be separately licensed. For further information or additional permissions, contact us.

This is viewer supported news