If you’ve been feeling a little uneasy about all the goodies you get from drug reps (think notepads, pens, drug samples, lunches, dinners, and seminars in really nice places), you can now get support for kicking the habit at the “No Free Lunch” website. The website lists all the reasons why docs shouldn’t take freebies from drug reps (in short, research shows that freebies really do bias physicians). The site also has a pledge that you can sign, which then puts you in a database of “no free lunch” providers that patients can peruse.
As a patient I’ve never been entirely comfortable taking samples, because just the fact that the doctor is dispensing them makes me wonder about his or her bias. Besides, I know the samples bias me. That is, if a given medication seems to work, then sure, I’ll ask for it next time I’m in the office, even though it’s possible other medications might work better. That’s how the system is supposed to work, of course, but I’m delighted to know that some docs are now opting out.