Life Sciences

University of Minnesota considers gift ban

Pharma Compliance Alert, October 29, 2008

Another university plans to take steps to eliminate pharmaceutical industry influence on physicians.

The University of Minnesota is considering one of the strictest bans on gifts from the pharmaceutical industry to physicians, according to a Minneapolis Star-Tribune article. The proposed ban comes at a time when Congress and the Department of Justice are looking closely at physicians’ ties to the industry.

The university’s proposed policy would eliminate all personal gifts from pharmaceutical companies to university doctors, researchers, and students. The university would also limit free samples and phase out industry funding for continuing medical education (CME). Physician consulting arrangements would be made public and the university would more closely monitor financial ties between physicians and pharmaceutical manufacturers.

The revised PhRMA Code on Interactions with Healthcare Professionals, which becomes effective in January 2009, also prohibits gifts to physicians.

The University of Pittsburgh Health System and SMDC Health System in Duluth, MN, have also banned industry gifts to physicians and the Wisconsin Medical Society Board recently adopted a new policy that bans industry gifts to physicians. The universities of Massachusetts, Pittsburgh, Colorado, Kansas, and California Davis, as well as Stanford require companies to contribute to a pool of money for CME funding. Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center stopped accepting industry funding for CME completely.

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