Sunday, January 04, 2009

Swag Gone?

The new "regs" took effect on the 1st, and have met with both skepticism ("[s]ome skeptics deride the voluntary ban as a superficial measure") and optimism ("proponents welcome it as a step toward ending the barrage of drug brands and logos that surround, and may subliminally influence, doctors and patients").
It seems obvious to me that both positions have merit; that is, it's not likely to directly reduce health care costs all that much, but it's certainly a step in the right direction. The giveways themselves likely cost very little, but if doc's are more inclined to prescribe products whose manufacturers "bribe" them with pretty trinkets than perhaps equally effective generics, there's obviously going to be a drop in the overall cost of health care.
Of course, there are other "freebies" available to physicians; last summer, we noted that the AMA has an issue with vendor-sponsored Continuing Medical Education (CME). I'm still unconvinced that this is a major problem, but perhaps the new ban on tangible freebies will affect the intangible ones, as well.
As we've noted many, many times here, the cost of health care drives the cost of health insurance, and any reduction in either one is likely to be "a good thing."
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