Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Kudos to "No Free Lunch" Pioneer, Dr. James Orlowski

The Prescription Project has kindly called our attention to a nice newspaper writeup about Dr. James Orlowski of Tampa:


The article credits Dr. Orlowski, a pediatrician, with being the only area physician listed on the "No Free Lunch" website (I assume, for having signed the pledge not to accept any gifts from drug reps).

What they could have said, but didn't, is that Dr. Orlowski did more than get listed on the site; he helped invent the arresting term "No Free Lunch" to describe drug company gifts.

As near as I can determine, the first published use of that phrase was in a paper that Dr. Orlowski co-authored while at the Cleveland Clinic in 1992: "The effects of pharmaceutical firm enticements on physician prescribing patterns. There's no such thing as a free lunch" (with L. Wateska, in Chest, 102:270, July 1992). This classic study looked at 20 staff physicians who attended two junkets at drug company expense, touting expensive drugs, showing that in the months following the junkets, the prescribing of those drugs at Cleveland Clinic shot up far out of proportion to any national trends--while when interviewed, the docs involved steadfastly denied that the junkets had influenced their prescribing.

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