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Consumer Advocates Call on Legislature to Support Governor's Ban on Pharmaceutical Gifts to Doctors
Date:2/5/2009

ALBANY, N.Y., Feb. 5 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A coalition of concerned consumer advocate groups, including AARP, NYPIRG, Consumers Union and Center for Medical Consumers, called on the New York State Legislature today to accept the Governor's budget proposal to ban pharmaceutical company gifts to doctors. This ban would exclude prescription drug samples for the benefit of patients and focus on gifts valued at over fifty dollars.

Pharmaceutical companies, in many instances, influence physicians to prescribe new high cost brand name drugs when equally effective, less expensive versions may be available.

"Pharmaceutical manufacturers spend billions of dollars annually in gifts and other payments to doctors" stated Lois Aronstein, AARP New York State Director. "Science and research should be the guide to prescribing the most effective prescription drugs, not sales pitches and gifts from manufacturers to physicians."

"At a time when the state budget is under enormous pressure from medical inflation and an ailing economy, curbing the drug industry's influence on physicians is right on target," said Chuck Bell, Programs Director for Consumers Union, publisher of Consumer Reports. "Inappropriate drug industry influence undermines patient safety, and drives up costs for New York State taxpayers.

"Consumers need to know they can have faith in the medical system and that their doctor is prescribing a drug that is not only effective, but cost effective." said Blair Horner, Legislative Director for the New York Public Interest Research Group. "The gifts drug companies give to doctors erode this trust."

"Rational prescribing and the right drug for the right patient, too often suffer from the undue influence of industry gifts," stated Arthur Levin MPH, Director, Center for Medical Consumers.

New York State has a responsibility to both consumers and taxpayers who hel
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SOURCE AARP
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