Saturday, September 17, 2005

AAFP: No Entry to No Free Lunch

The organization called No Free Lunch has been campaigning against a variety of pharmaceutical marketing techniques, particularly giving gifts to physicians, from pens to the "free lunch" in the organization's title.
A report in the trade journal, and a press release by No Free Lunch, describe how the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) has barred No Free Lunch from exhibiting in the Exposition Hall at the annual AAFP Scientific Assembly.
AAFP Manager of Sales and Services Sharon Hutinett stated that the No Free Lunch exhibit was "not within the character and purpose of the Scientific Assembly." Moreover, AAFP Executive Vice President Douglas Henley stated, "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 AAFP to accept their exhibit application."
The character and purpose of the meeting may be indicated by the large number of exhibits sponsored by pharamaceutical companies in the Exposition Hall. Furthermore, No Free Lunch noted that even corporations such as Coca-Cola and McDonalds were allowed to exhibit. characterized the character and purpose of the AAFP meeting as "a truly massive marketing event: 5,000 of the top-prescribing physicians in the country are expected to attend the San Francisco shindig."
An AAFP prospectus listed the variety of marketing opportunities for sale, from a "freebie" in every doctor's "gift bags" for $7500 "per piece per day," to, of course, free lunch, "$60,500 pays for the food vouchers that physician-attendees will use for lunch each day at the conference."
So although the AAFP is happy to expose their physician members to a "truly massive marketing event," AAFP leadership apparently cannot tolerate the dissent provided by a single No Free Lunch exhibit.
How such suppression of honest difference of opinions serves the AAFP's mission, "to improve the health of patients, families, and communities by serving the needs of members with professionalism and creativity," is beyond me. Whether the AAFP's membership condone such censorship, or even know that it is going on, are also open questions.


Anonymous said...

I would point out today that the AAFP change its position after complaints by AAFP members and will now be allowed at the exhibit.

Anonymous said...

I'd like to know if you have any information and/or how you feel about giving gifts to nurses?