Cedars-Sinai Blog

Pharmaceutical Pens: A Cardiologist's Quirky Collection

Cardiologist Dr. Jeffrey Caren amassed close to 1,200 pens from pharmaceutical reps before the industry stopped giving them out in 2009.

The pen is mightier than the sword, or at least that's what they say. But pens are easier to collect.

Over 6 years, cardiologist Dr. Jeffrey Caren built a collection of pharmaceutical company pens. Patients who visit his office often marvel at his proudly displayed collection.

Just a handful of Dr. Caren's pharmaceutical pens.

Swag becomes art

The pens' pristine beauty is on permanent exhibit in his office. About 600 pens are in a transparent case affixed to an office pillar.

He and his wife bought the case and devoted a weekend to carefully gluing each pen inside it. Now he can't imagine his office without his pen pillar and jokingly refers to the collection as "industrial art."

In all, Dr. Caren estimates he collected more than 1,200 pens before the pharmaceutical industry stopped distributing the branded items to physicians in 2009.

Dr. Caren's unusual collection has garnered national attention from major media outlets including The New York Times and ABC World News Tonight.

Last summer, a portion of the collection was shipped to Oakland where it was showcased in a temporary exhibit at the Museum of Capitalism.

"We chose Dr. Caren’s pens because they help tell the story of capitalism," said Timothy Furstnau, curator of the Museum of Capitalism.

An estimated 10,000 visitors viewed Dr. Caren's collection in the museum.

Part of Dr. Caren's pharmaceutical pen collection