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Arch Fam Med. 1995 Apr;4(4):335-9.

Patient perceptions of physician acceptance of gifts from the pharmaceutical industry.

Author information

  • 1Department of Family Practice, University of Kentucky, Lexington, USA.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To examine patient perceptions of professional appropriateness and the potential impact on health care of physician acceptance of gifts from the pharmaceutical industry.

DESIGN:

A random-digit dialing telephone survey.

SETTING AND PARTICIPANTS:

A sample of 649 adults (> or = 18 years old) living in Kentucky.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:

Patient awareness of office-use gifts (eg, pens, notepads) and personal gifts to physicians from the pharmaceutical industry, patient exposure to office-use gifts, and attitudes toward physician acceptance of both office-use and personal gifts.

RESULTS:

The survey had a response rate of 55%. Eighty-two percent of the respondents were aware that physicians received office-use gifts, while 32% were aware that physicians received personal gifts. Seventy-five percent reported receiving free samples of medication from their physicians. Compared with office-use gifts, more respondents believed that personal gifts to physicians have a negative effect on both health care cost (42% vs 26%) and quality (23% vs 13%). After controlling for demographic variables, as well as awareness and exposure to physician gifts, individuals with at least a high school education were 2.4 times as likely to believe that personal gifts have a negative effect on the cost of health care and 2.3 times as likely to believe that personal gifts would have a negative effect on the quality of health care.

CONCLUSIONS:

These results suggest that the public is generally uninformed about personal gifts from pharmaceutical companies to physicians. If public perception regarding the objectivity of the medical profession is to serve as a guide, these findings suggest a reevaluation may be in order for guidelines regarding physician acceptance of gifts from the pharmaceutical industry.

PMID:
7711920
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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