Last week, several bloggers met with J&J corporate PR people at a fancy NYC restaurant (see "Should Bloggers Dine at Pharma's Table?" also see my post here).
I was invited, but could not attend.
Even so, I was concerned about accepting a lavish dinner and open bar from a company I write about in my blog. Not that I or any of the bloggers that attended can be bought off by a "a piece of trout and a glass of wine" as Jim Edwards of BrandweekNRX noted (Steven Palter, MD of docinthemachine blog, who also attended, expressed it thus: "it takes a lot more than a steak and fries...to corrupt me.")
Trout and wine or steak and fries...yummm!
My main reason for posting this and making more of it than some think I should is to begin to establish standards for bloggers like myself who do not have a journalistic background. Journalists, in fact, do have policies for accepting free meals from organizations they may be writing about. Take Ed Silverman over at Pharmalot, for example. He stated his policy this way:
"The arrangement is this: J&J will send the bill and Pharmalot will send a check. Pharmalot does not accept industry funding. Surprised? We hope not."
If you cannot be influenced by trout or steak, why do journalists generally have a policy similar to Ed's? Should bloggers in general adopt a policy like Ed's?
Help me out by taking the following poll (we're talking about bloggers that write about the pharma industry):
Whatever the policy should be, one thing is certain. Every blogger that attended that meeting should be transparent about it and tell their readers that they attended and what their policy about freebies from pharma is. IMHO.