It is absolutely nauseating out in the modern world of medicine. Sales reps, chosen for their good looks and sales abilities with no experience in the field of medicine, lurk around every corner. College cheerleaders and athletic coaches are now the favorite source of new sales reps.
Everywhere I have worked in the past several years has had free meals being provided every week or even every day by different sales reps to all the staff who are available. Any doctor who is willing to sell him- or herself cheaply can arrange to be a speaker for various drug companies and get paid for giving promotional speeches to doctors in other areas. The pay is excellent! Doctors of almost every speciality can arrange to have fancy "free" dinners for their local group at the best restaurant in town every month at the expense of various drug companies.
The doctor offices and psychiatric units are plastered with advertising from "free" pens, "free" clocks, "free" magnets, "free" notepads, "free" liquid soap, etc. The reps will do anything you want to please you. Recently, I carefully avoided a "free" lunch attended by many staff. I showed up at the last moment. I mistakenly told the sales rep that I am a vegetarian and she quickly started trying to figure out what she should bring me next time to eat. Now, I don't even go in at the last moment.
I am even coming under pressure from other staff at my psychiatric hospital to at least talk with the reps, because the staff get free lunches, too, and don't want to lose out. So far, I am hanging tough.
There is a new organization No Free Lunch who has been protesting this perversion of the field of medicine. I strongly applaud their work. Visit them at http://www.nofreelunch.org/ .
There is now one sales rep for every five physicians in the U.S.! While the vast majority of doctors claim that their medical practices are not affected, that's total garbage. I have seen drug reps strongly influencing physician prescribing practices and even diagnostic practices for many years. The industry knows exactly how many prescriptions for their medications each doctor has written on a month by month basis. They aren't dummies. They can crunch the numbers. They aren't going to spend billions of dollars without a bigger payoff in increased profits.
Instead of getting better, it is getting worse. Virtually any doctor can pick up hundreds of dollars per speaking engagement by simply volunteering. The sales rep will make all of the arrangements. Of course, the speaker will get many more invitations if he or she says glowing things about the product. Virtually all medical schools have already sold their souls to Big Pharma. They are strongly dependent on industry research grants and the grants go to those who find positive results, make favorable statements, and agree to hide "failed" studies, i.e., good scientific studies which found that the medication in question was of little or no value.