Health System To Ban Rx Companies’ Gifts to MDs
The Detroit-based Henry Ford Health System beginning Jan. 1, 2007, will ban no-cost lunches, gifts and other incentives to physicians from medical equipment and pharmaceutical company representatives, the AP/Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports.
Under the policy, representatives will be required to schedule appointments before visiting physicians and obtain a $100 certification with the health system to conduct business with a health care provider. Hospital officials on Thursday said the practice of allowing unannounced visits by drug and equipment company representatives to physicians can lead to potential conflicts of interest and concerns that gifts influence the types of drugs doctors prescribe.
Mark Fendrick, a University of Michigan drug price specialist, said in an interview with the Detroit Free Press, "The evidence shows that when physicians are exposed to pharmaceutical representatives, their decisions are different. It is very unusual to find generic drugs in a physician's sample closet."
Ken Johnson, senior vice president of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, said drug company representatives facilitate communication with physicians about medicines and the scientific data associated with medications. Johnson added that representatives follow ethics guidelines developed by the industry and the federal government (AP/Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 12/15).