Check out this article. What do folks think: Are DOs as influenced by drug company advertising as Australian medical doctors appear to be? Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC Online) Sunday, April 18, 2004 Doctors influenced by drug companies, study finds Most doctors genuinely believe they are immune to the influence of drug companies when choosing which medications to prescribe. But new studies show overwhelming evidence that prescribing habits can be changed by aggressive marketing. Associate Professor Wendy Rogers, from the Department of Health Ethics at Flinders University, says doctors are affected subconsciously. "It's not like a bribe where they get a free meal and say I must prescribe brand X, but the branding and the product placement works," she said. A study in today's issue of the Medical Journal of Australia says 95 per cent of doctors have regular visits from drug company representatives and the more frequent the visits, the greater the chance of over-prescribing. It also found that those medicos attending conferences sponsored by pharmaceutical companies were more likely to prescribe those companies' drugs. Dr Kerry Breen from the National Health and Medical Research council ethics committee writes: "My criticism is of the naivete of doctors and their unwillingness to accept overwhelming evidence that the techniques used by the industry to increase prescribing of their products actually work." Associate Professor Rogers says when doctors are influenced by pharmaceutical companies, they prescribe more expensive drugs and ones that are not quite as good. A second study raises concerns about the relationship between the drug industry and medical students. Its authors were alarmed to find that were no restrictions on what students can accept from pharmaceutical manufacturers. Matthew Hutchinson, president of the Australian Medical Students Association, would like to see a code of conduct for Australia's medical students. "So that we can begin now and set up ethical relations with the industry so that we can treat our patients to the best of our ability," he said. The pharmaceutical industry itself has moved to limit the perks given out to doctors, tightening their own code of conduct to ban expensive gifts and hospitality. A spokesman for Medicines Australia says there are no plans to limit the frequency of drug representative visits.