Prominent physicians call for an end to all drug company gifts

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted Feb. 13, 2006

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Marketing dollars from drug and medical device companies are compromising the medical profession and jeopardizing patient safety, a group of physician leaders say, and it must stop if doctors want to preserve their scientific and professional integrity and keep patients safe.

A working group of physicians and academic leaders, including Jordan Cohen, MD, president of the Assn. of American Medical Colleges, and Jerome Kassirer, MD, former editor of the New England Journal of Medicine, say academic medical centers should:

  • Replace free drug samples with a voucher system for low-income patients.
  • Distribute industry money for CME through a central office at each institution.
  • Ban all faculty from industry speakers bureaus.
  • Prohibit open-ended industry grants to faculty.
  • Ensure more transparency in faculty research relationships with drug and device makers by posting faculty consulting and research contracts on a public Web site.

The group laid out its recommendations for tighter conflict of interest controls in the Jan. 25 Journal of the American Medical Association.

The group concludes that if medicine follows the recommendations, outside regulation of the medical profession will ease, and physicians will write prescriptions based on evidence, not from a sense of reciprocity.

Note: This item originally appeared at

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