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Healthy Skepticism Library item: 192

Warning: This library includes all items relevant to health product marketing that we are aware of regardless of quality. Often we do not agree with all or part of the contents.


Publication type: Journal Article

Katz D, Caplan AL, Merz JF.
All gifts large and small: toward an understanding of the ethics of pharmaceutical industry gift-giving.
Am J Bioeth 2003; 3:(3):39-46


Much attention has been focused in recent years on the ethical acceptability of physicians receiving gifts from drug companies. Professional guidelines recognize industry gifts as a conflict of interest and establish thresholds prohibiting the exchange of large gifts while expressly allowing for the exchange of small gifts such as pens, note pads, and coffee. Considerable evidence from the social sciences suggests that gifts of negligible value can influence the behavior of the recipient in ways the recipient does not always realize. Policies and guidelines that rely on arbitrary value limits for gift-giving or receipt should be reevaluated.

Keywords: analysis United States relationship between medical profession and industry conflict-of-interest gift giving perceived immunity value limits ETHICAL ISSUES IN PROMOTION: GIFT GIVING ETHICAL ISSUES IN PROMOTION: LINKS BETWEEN HEALTH PROFESSIONALS AND INDUSTRY REGULATIONS, CODES, GUIDELINES: HEALTH PROFESSIONAL ORGANIZATIONS American Medical Association Conflict of Interest* Disclosure Drug Industry/economics* Gift Giving/ethics* Humans Interpersonal Relations Marketing of Health Services Physician's Practice Patterns Physicians/economics* Physicians/psychology Social Behavior Social Control, Formal United States


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What these howls of outrage and hurt amount to is that the medical profession is distressed to find its high opinion of itself not shared by writers of [prescription] drug advertising. It would be a great step forward if doctors stopped bemoaning this attack on their professional maturity and began recognizing how thoroughly justified it is.
- Pierre R. Garai (advertising executive) 1963