Trade association's Rx: fewer freebies

Have you noticed while waiting for the doctor to show up in the little exam room that just about every pen, paper pad and other item is labeled with a brand name from a drug company? Well, that may be about to change.

An association representing pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies says it's revised its conduct code to ban the knickknacks bearing company and product logos. The new rules of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, which take effect Jan. 1, also prohibit sales reps from providing doctors with restaurant meals, entertainment or recreation.

"This code is to reinforce our intention that our interactions with health-care professionals are professional exchanges designed to benefit patients and to enhance the practice of medicine," the Washington, D.C.-based trade group said in a news release.

Maybe they'd consider providing the doctors with current magazine subscriptions, instead.

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