Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Never toy with a person's stomach.

Nice thought. Unfortunately, they should have targeted an organ a bit further north of the belt.

link to original article.

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“No Free Lunch” Gets No Free Ride

September 16, 2005

NEW YORK -- A doctor's group critical of drug companies is protesting its exclusion from the American Academy of Family Physicians' (AAFP) annual Scientific Assembly—a major event for pharma marketers.

The group, No Free Lunch, claims it has been denied permission to have an exhibit at the Sept. 28 trade show in San Francisco, even though Coca-Cola, McDonald's and the Distilled Spirits Council of the U.S. (and dozens of drug companies) all have booths, the group said.

No Free Lunch encourages doctors not to accept gifts from the drug industry. The group wants doctors “to practice medicine on the basis of scientific evidence rather than on the basis of pharmaceutical promotion.”

The AAFP's advertising prospectus promises a truly massive marketing event: 5,000 of the top-prescribing physicians in the country are expected to attend the San Francisco shindig.

A full page in the conference magazine costs $23,300; more if you want it in color. Doctor's gift bags will be given out each day—any company that wants to place a freebie in them must pay $7,500 “per piece per day.”

--> If a marketer wants to buy doctors breakfast every day and give them gifts as they eat, that opportunity is on sale for $81,500, according to the prospectus. <--

--> “And, of course, there's free lunch: $60,500 pays for the food vouchers that physician-attendees will use for lunch each day at the conference,” noted Dr. Bob Goodman, the director of No Free Lunch, in a statement. <--

The AAFP's evp, Douglas Henley, responded, “While the AAFP respects the mission of No Free Lunch, their desire to eliminate information-sharing by exhibitors with our members clearly negates the purpose of the Exposition Hall. Therefore, No Free Lunch is not in keeping with the character and purpose of the Scientific Assembly Exposition Hall and it would not be appropriate for the AAFP to accept their exhibit application.”

Goodman is slowly becoming a Michael Moore-type figure within the drug marketing business because of his dual knack for publicity and protest. In April, he claims, his group was turned away from the American College of Physicians conference (also in San Francisco) after they tried to distribute copies of ACP's own rules on accepting gifts from the drug industry.

--Jim Edwards

link to No Free Lunch

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