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PMA ADOPTS ADVICE AGAINST MD ACCEPTANCE OF DRUG INDUSTRY GIFTS

Executive Summary

PMA ADOPTS ADVICE AGAINST MD ACCEPTANCE OF DRUG INDUSTRY GIFTS in cases where prescribers' objectivity appears to be threatened. In a May 30 announcement, the Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association said it "endorsed" guidelines on industry-physician relations developed by the American College of Physicians. PMA President Gerald Mossinghoff said in the announcement that ACP "has developed a solid framework to preserve the integrity of the interactions between physicians and industry." The PMA-endorsed position states that "gifts, hospitality or subsidies offered to physicians by the pharmaceutical industry ought not to be accepted if acceptance might influence or appear to others to influence the objectivity of clinical judgment." The statement advises that " a useful criterion in determining acceptable activities and relationships" is whether a physician would "be willing to have these arrangements generally known." The PMA board agreed to adopt ACP's position paper as part of the "PMA Code of Pharmaceutical Marketing Practices." The college published four statements on physician-industry interactions in the April 14 issue of Annals of Internal Medicine. The issue of marketing practices is timely because of rumblings from Capitol Hill. Sen. Kennedy (D-Mass.) is believed to be preparing an oversight hearing on marketing practices for sometime this summer before his Senate Labor & Human Resources Committee. Kennedy's staff had initially indicated interest in hearings on drug promotional issues in early June. If no hearing develops this year, Kennedy's committee may issue a report based on the survey conducted of major pharmaceutical manufacturers last year. ACP's guidelines advise that when drug manufacturers supply funding for continuing medical education programs, independent institutions and organizations that provide accreditation for such programs "should develop and enforce explicit policies to maintain complete control of program content." The guides also urged professional societies to develop policies to "discourage excessive industry-sponsored gifts, amenities and hospitality to physicians at meetings."

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