AMA, PhRMA Meet to Address ‘Friction’ Over Drug Marketing
Trustees from the AMA and executives representing the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America met last night to discuss drug "industry sales tactics," the Wall Street Journal reports. Leaders of the two groups were expected to address the "mounting friction" between doctors and pharmaceutical companies over sales representatives' practices aimed at "gain[ing] a few minutes of doctors' time" in exchange for goods or services such as "entire meals packaged to go." According to the Journal, the AMA's ethics policy allows doctors to receive gifts if they are not of "substantial value" and they "primarily entail a benefit to patients." Under the policy, more substantial items like textbooks or "modest meals" are allowed if "they serve a genuine educational function." However, the Journal reports, the industry has become "increasingly competitive," with some sales reps' tactics beginning to "push the bounds of what some doctors believe is ethical." The AMA last summer started an educational campaign that offers doctors and sales representatives guidelines on gifts. But the effort has "drawn fire" because it is primarily financed by unrestricted grants from the drug industry (Hensley, Wall Street Journal, 1/17).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.