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Life Balance: Drug Companies Marketing to Med Students

Pharmaceutical companies spend almost 20 billion dollars a year marketing their products to doctors - and even future doctors. But are these marketing ploys going too far? The Baltimore Sun reports:

Medical student Clarence Lam marveled at the feast that a drug company sponsored this spring at the Inner Harbor's upscale Capital Grille.

The night's appetizer was seafood, the entree was filet mignon and dessert was cheesecake.

"They paid for everything," recalled Lam, 26, who attends the University of Maryland School of Medicine. "They even covered the wine."

Like other drugmakers, Novartis Pharmaceutical Co. sponsors such events to woo practicing doctors and to promote its products to future physicians such as Lam. It's a common marketing tactic that is raising concerns on medical school campuses nationwide. Medical scholars and student groups have called for tighter restrictions on industry access to the nation's medical students.

The Association of American Medical Colleges has a task force investigating the issue, and several medical schools have adopted policies that restrict such marketing. Officials at UM and the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine are considering similar rules.

Is marketing to people in medical school going too far for the Pharmaceutical companies? Whether pharmaceutical companies will continue to woo future doctors or not will be looked in to by Association of American Medical Colleges.


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