Doctors and Big Pharma: No Such Thing as a Free Lunch


Are treatments always prescribed because they are best practice? Doctors have long been the recipients of pharmaceutical marketing—free pens, free lunches and dinners, even free flights and accommodation to overseas conferences. Campaigns such as “No Advertising Please” argue that by accepting these benefits, doctors are acting against their patients’ best interests, as this will result in more frequent, more expensive, and less evidence-based prescription of medicines. So does the pharmaceutical industry “pull the strings” of doctors to achieve their corporate interests? Expect a lively debate.


Professor John Dwyer AO

Professor John Dwyer AO is an Australian doctor, professor of medicine and public health advocate. He is one of the founders of the organisation, Friends of Science in Medicine, and supports conducting robust research in complementary practices and adopting the ones that prove to be safe and effective. He has also been extensively involved in efforts to create structural reform within the Australian health care delivery system, including founding the Australian Health Care Reform Alliance, which sees 54 organisations now speaking with one voice on the need for reforms to the Australian health care system.

Ms Deborah Monk

Ms Deborah Monk is Director of Ethics and Compliance at Medicines Australia, an organisation that represents the pharmaceutical industry in Australia. Medicines Australia aims to strengthen the reputation of the pharmaceutical industry through self-regulation via administration of its Code of Conduct. Deborah joined the innovative medicines industry association in 1989, and holds a Bachelor of Pharmacy and a Diploma in Hospital Pharmacy.