Conflicts of Interest

The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (a pharmacy trade group organization) has recently announced new guidelines addressing conflicts of interest with clinicians.  Member pharmaceutical companies will be barred from distributing office supplies, clothes and other gifts with company logos or product brand names to physicians and clinics. The new guidelines also prohibits the companies from paying for physicians’ meals, including those during medical education events, and requires that all grant money allocated for continuing medical education programs be handled by personnel who are not from sales and marketing departments.  The guideline does not address the common practice of paying clinicians to promote drugs on a speaking circuit or serve as paid consultants.

A number of years ago, Ministry Health Care updated it’s corporate integrity policies banning the receipt of gifts of material value from any vendor and specifically restricting pharmaceutical representative access to our clinicians.  We had a few clinicians who bristled at the policy stating a pharmaceutical representative could not influence their decision-making. Drug companies simply would not waste their money trying to influence clinicians if their tactics did not work.

Clinicians also related drug samples provided by pharmaceutical reps are given to needy patients. In response, we started a very successful Patient Drug Assistance Program. This program helps our needy patients apply for drug assistance directly from the drug company.

I am proud of the stance Ministry Health Care has taken and fully support it. It is also time for our government to establish similar policies for all government employees including our legislators.  Special interest group sponsored educational junkets are said to provide valuable education for our senators and congressmen; education that undoubtedly leaves them more favorably inclined to vote for legislation supported by their benefactors.

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One Response to “Conflicts of Interest”

  1. 15 Says:

    Health Lessons…

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