I suppose if you're going to take handouts from pharmaceutical reps—a practice that's been proven to influence decisions doctors make, even if they think it doesn't—you may as well get exactly what you want out of the deal.
Carmen Drahl, an editor at Chemical & Engineering News who blogs about the cool science that comes out of pharmaceutical chemistry, sent me this example of the industry's less-awesome side. She says:
Even though it's frowned upon these days for doctors to be getting free lunches from pharmaceutical company sales reps, that doesn't mean it doesn't still happen. And at least one medical practice is acting like a real diva about it- specifying everything from what time the food should be delivered to which local eateries are do's and don'ts. Journalist Ed Silverman's Pharmalot blog has posted a memo from a Baltimore practice that reads "like a rider for a concert tour", as one commenter put it.
To be fair, as far as concert tour riders go, this ain't a J.Lo level of detail. But it is amusing/depressing to see a medical practice specify exactly what it takes to buy their loyalty, potentially at the expense of their patients. Especially when that loyalty can be bought, apparently, with lunch from Macaroni Grill.
Maggie Koerth-Baker is the science editor at BoingBoing.net. She writes a monthly column for The New York Times Magazine and is the author of Before the Lights Go Out, a book about electricity, infrastructure, and the future of energy. You can find Maggie on Twitter and Facebook.