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National Survey of Physicians Part II: Doctors and Prescription Drugs

With attention focused recently on direct-to-consumer advertising of prescription drugs, findings from a new National Survey of Physicians by the Kaiser Family Foundation shed light on another factor in drug promotion that has received less attention — promotion to physicians. Most physicians say they have received perks from a drug company representative, including free drug samples, meals, tickets to events, free travel and other incentives. When asked their views on information they receive from drug company representatives, nearly three-fourths say it is very or somewhat useful, and more than eight in ten say the information is very or somewhat accurate. Survey findings also show that physicians see several factors influencing patients awareness of drugs. More than six in 10 doctors say prescription drug advertisements influence patients to talk to their physicians at least somewhat often , and even more doctors say the general news media and friends and family members are frequent influences.

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.