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How many chairs in your MD's wait room are taken up by drug reps?

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My doc had about seven, maybe eight, chairs in the waiting area. That was for a group practice of five physicians. Two and sometimes three seats were pretty much perennially filled with a handsome (usually male: they knew their audience), well dressed, roller bag toting salesmen, waiting to pounce, for that 5 or 10 second exchange and if they were really lucky maybe a quick autograph, the minute one of the physicians came out to summon in the next appointment.

Only one in five doctors refuse to let drug reps into their offices during office hours. I am proud to count my (new) doc-- all the way back to the late 1990s-- as one of them.

Of course the flip side of this stat is that a full 80% embrace the intrusion. The betrayal of patient confidentiality may well be the chief reason the Don't Tread On Me minority Just Say No to swarmy pill pushers in the office, but a sincere desire to draw a clear line between what is in the best interest of any given patient vs. what is in the best interest of a drug outfit and its hot new drug may also enter into the equation. We can only hope that this trend catches on.

I came across this statistic in the Duff Wilson piece on the front page of today's NYT Business section. It's kind of a great article. I am happy to learn that I wasn't missing anything by not having Epocrates on my phone.

Mike is due to complete his five-year licensing program in East Asian medicine in the spring of 2014 and is eager to return to the working world. He looks forward to applying the fruits of his study and life experience to helping people minimize the use of life-long drug taking and to discover more effective management of conditions for which suboptimal or no effective treatment currently exists.

In 2013 he presented his insomnia research at the biannual meeting of the Society for Acupuncture Research at the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor, MI) and to the Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore, MD. He currently serves as a peer reviewer for The American Acupuncturist, a quarterly research journal of the American Association of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. He can be reached in New York City at mbarr (AT)

From 1990 until shortly before it closed its doors, he was part of the clinical research team at St. Vincent's Hospital in Greenwich Village, NY. His research and that of his colleagues has been presented at medical conferences world-wide and published within the pages of The New England Journal of Medicine, Lancet, Annals of Internal Medicine, Clinical Infectious Diseases and others. With Dr. Ramon A. Torres, he co-authored chapters for two medical textbooks. From 1992 to 1994 he served on the Immunology and Primary Infection committees of the AACTG of the National Institutes of Health/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

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This page contains a single entry by Mike Barr published on July 29, 2011 8:06 PM.

Why experts keep failing us--and how to know when not to trust them was the previous entry in this blog.

ACP Evidence-Based Guide to CAM just arrived in my mail box is the next entry in this blog.

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