Gift Ban Takes Effect
A ban on gifts to physicians from sales representatives for pharmaceutical, medical device and other companies has taken effect at Stanford University Medical Center, the San Jose Mercury News reports (Krieger, San Jose Mercury News, 10/2).
The ban prohibits doctors from accepting even small gifts such as pens or mugs from sales representatives. The policy also prohibits doctors from accepting free drug samples and from publishing articles in medical journals that are underwritten by drug companies.
Doctors who purchase medical equipment will be responsible for reporting any financial relationship they have with medical device suppliers, and, in some cases, could be excluded from the purchasing process. The new policy does not affect consulting agreements between physicians and companies that develop drugs or devices, which already are covered by an existing conflict-of-interest policy (California Healthline, 9/12).
Kaiser Medical Group in 2004 adopted a similar ban, becoming the first medical center in the nation to do so (San Jose Mercury News, 10/2).
Similarly, the committee that oversees medication and equipment purchases at the University of California-Davis Health System last week forwarded three proposals to the executive committee for consideration, the Sacramento Bee reports. The Pharmacy and Therapeutics Committee recommended that the health system:
- Ban gifts, complimentary meals, and compensation for travel time, time at meetings, and participation in online medical education programs;
- Replace a system that allows pharmaceutical representatives to give physicians free samples for patients with a system that would provide vouchers for low-income beneficiaries; and
- Bar medical professionals with ties to drug or medical device firms from participating in hospital or medical group committees that make purchasing decisions.