The latest example of lavish wining and dining comes from Australia where the pharmaceutical giant, Roche, recently entertained a group of oncologists to a series of lavish dinners that followed a 'rigorous' day of 'education'.
One of the meals averaged nearly lb1,000 ($1,920) per head, which goes way beyond Australia's code of conduct for 'reasonable' hospitality.
Roche's beneficence is hardly unique. One cancer specialist in Australia says that lavish entertaining is still common practice for doctors who prescribe expensive drugs.
Roche, which is based in Switzerland, last year reported annual sales of SFr35bn and profits of SFr7bn, while sales of its cancer drugs rose by an extraordinary 42 per cent in just one year.
Another glass of '61 Chateau Lafite, anyone?
(Source: British Medical Journal, 2006; 333: 169).