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Subject:  Big Pharma Still Showering Drs with Gifts Date:  3/4/2005  3:20 AM
Author:  CatherineCoy Number:  1062 of 4508

Three years after the drug industry said it would stop showering doctors with expensive gifts, a top federal drug official told a Senate panel on Thursday that such marketing efforts continued.

The official, Dr. Janet Woodcock, acting deputy commissioner for operations of the Food and Drug Administration, said during a break in the hearing that drug companies still invited doctors on cruises and to resorts in exotic places, all free.

The FDA has no jurisdiction to police such efforts, she said.

Dr. Woodcock appeared on the second day of Senate hearings into her agency's oversight of drug safety.

The drug industry has long spent billions of dollars annually - far more than it spends on research - trying to persuade doctors to prescribe its pills.

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