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AMA Council Calls for End to Pharma Industry Funding of Medical Education

AMA Council Calls for End to Pharma Industry Funding of Medical Education

June 4, 2008

The American Medical Association’s Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs submitted a report to the AMA calling for a prohibition on the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and medical device industry’s support of professional medical education.

(Related sidenote: the catering industry's plea to legislators to allow them to continue to keep doctors from starving by allowing a loophole for drug-company paid lunches has drawn a lively debate at Blue Mass Group. Read "PhRMA gift ban: Save The Sandwiches!")

The Council, which is charged with developing AMA’s ethics policies, conducted a literature review, ethical analysis and gathered feedback from key stakeholders with the goal of providing ethical guidance for physicians and medical institutions concerning the pharmaceutical industry’s support of professional medical education.

In their report, the Council noted that industry’s support of medical education has raised concerns that threaten the integrity of medical education, including concerns regarding the extent that scientifically objective and clinically relevant information is being provided in educational sessions sponsored by the pharmaceutical industry. For the details - click here:

Concluding that existing mechanisms in the medical profession are insufficient to manage potential conflicts and biases, the Council recommended that:

  • Medical institutions and physicians not accept any industry funding for professional education activities, including continuing medical education. The Council suggests that an exception should be made for educational sessions for novel diagnostic or therapeutic devices only until expertise in the use of these devices has developed within the medical community.
  • Medical schools and teaching hospitals limit, to the greatest extent possible, industry marketing and promotional activities on campus, including meals and visits by sales reps. The Council also advises that these institutions educate trainees about how to interact with the industry and their representatives.
  • The medical profession work to identify the most effective method of education and evaluation of medical students. Educational programming that better serves the educational needs of all physicians should then be developed and disseminated.
  • The medical profession obtains more noncommercial funding of professional education activities.
  • The pharmaceutical gift ban recently passed by the MA Senate similarly seeks to eliminate the inappropriate influence of the industry on our providers and the resulting cost and quality implications. Please contact your state legislators to ask them to support the gift ban.