“In her opening talk today, AND’s president [Lucille Beseler] made a comment about corporate sponsorship: “I’m not so weak-minded that I would make a decision based on receiving a pen.”
It’s unfortunate that the well-documented issue of the often-subconscious influence of corporate sponsorship is mocked and dismissed.
Actually, research has pointed out that “while most doctors do not believe gifts influence their decisions about which drugs to prescribe, the gifts actually can make a difference – something patient advocates have voiced concern about in the past.”
One study, published earlier this year in the British Medical Journal, “found that when a drug company spends $13 on a doctor, then they will later see 94 additional days of prescriptions for brand-name anticoagulants and additional 107 days of prescribing brand-name drugs to treat diabetes.”
This, of course, is just one of many examples of what we know about the effects of industry funding based on a growing body of academic literature.
We truly wish the topic of corporate influence was approached by AND with greater awareness, curiosity, and understanding as to how we, as a profession, can recognize it and improve our actions to elevate the registered dietitian credential.
This is not about “weak-mindedness”, it is about larger systemic forces. Pretending they don’t exist will not make them go away.