Author + information
- Anthony N. DeMaria, MD, MACC⁎ ()
- ↵⁎Division of Cardiology, University of California, San Diego, 200 West Arbor Drive, San Diego, California 92103
As is apparent from the letter by Mr. Restuccia and colleagues, we are in agreement on most, and notably the most important, issues regarding interaction between physicians and medical industry (1). Where we seem to disagree is in the matter of degree. I believe there are gradations in the magnitude of “gifts,” and that gifts of very small value, by virtue of their worth and ubiquity, have virtually no influence on physicians. I credit physicians with the intelligence, savvy, and integrity to see these for what they are and not let them affect their judgment. In fact, if small tokens such as pens, notepads, or a slice of pizza facilitate the education of physicians, I am all for them. I am afraid that some are taking an “all or none” approach to physician/industry interactions and run the danger that is always present in such positions. Conducting a major high-profile campaign against these small gifts may be seen as going after a mosquito with a cannon. We may lose sight of the important goals we are trying to achieve by focusing on those of less significance. Prohibition of alcohol failed, in some part, because a majority of the population believed that it was a disproportionate action for the problem posed. It would be a pity if the legitimate need to address potential abuses in the interaction of physicians and industry met a similar fate for the same reasons.
- American College of Cardiology Foundation