I don't go to pharma dinner programs, my off hours are family time. I earn a great living and can pay for my own food at any restaurant in town and I'd rather go with my wife/kids. Our evenings are pretty jam packed. I can't imagine telling one of my kids I'd be missing their debate tournament in favor of a pharma dinner. I don't think so. Besides, I'd rather go to a real educational seminar and earn actual CMEs than get food I probably wouldn't otherwise eat/order.
We do have pharm reps come into the bldg, but they are only allowed into the conference room. As long as I have been there, I have never once seen a drug rep in a patient care area. Never. They distribute their samples to the accepting providers in the conference room. I don't take samples from reps or distribute samples to patients, it is just too much of a hassle. I don't think samples are the answer to problems re: the cost of prescription drugs. You can't provide samples indefinitely and a free supply for 30-60 days of a $200 medication helps no one when they can't pay for it the third month. I'm not a drug deal pr a pharmacist, and I do not want to deal with that mess.
We generally have breakfast and lunch provided by reps every day. Sometimes we also have a mid-morning or late afternoon snack as well. I do take a free lunch from time to time, but I earn it.
If I'm going to eat their food, I sit through their presentation. There is a provider in my office who fixes a plate and leaves, which I think it rude. I rarely have breakfast with drug reps (I eat at home before I go to work) and typically only participate in drug rep lunches/snack
a) if it is food I want to eat (I'm pretty picky and I work 3 minutes from my house, I'd rather walk or ride my bike home to eat most days)
and b) if they have something to actually teach me: new drug, new trial info, etc.
I try to go every once in a while because if enough of us providers don't go, they will stop coming, and the staff are sort of counting on getting free breakfast and lunch most days. I"d hate to see them lose that benefit, so I show up often enough to keep them coming.
I know this is an old thread, but if anyone's office is having difficulties like those described in the OP, the practice manager is not doing his job.