A group of academic medicine leaders have urged medical school faculty to distance themselves from drug company marketing efforts, arguing that the current close relationship is a "serious threat" to trust in doctors.
Roughly 90 percent of the drug industry's $21 billion marketing budget is aimed at doctors.
The group recommended that medical schools:
- Ban all gifts, including free meals
- Prohibit doctors from accepting free samples
- Ban doctors with financial ties to drug firms from any panels deciding what drugs should be prescribed
- Prevent drugmakers from directly financing a student's medical education
- Ban faculty from publishing articles ghostwritten by drug industry staff
Some medical schools may find implementing the guidelines difficult, because they depend on drug company money for funding.
Last fall, I told you about the reprehensible actions drugmakers routinely take to court young, naive and time-challenged medical students. That survey of more than 1,000 future doctors studying at eight American medical schools was troubling:
The new guidelines, proposed in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), would be an excellent step toward keeping medical schools focused on medicine rather than drug company profits.
Interestingly, this awesome USA Today piece points out new guidelines implemented by Yale University School of Medicine that mirror those described in the JAMA paper. But note that most universities will have a tough time enacting ones of their own, given how much they depend on drug industry "gifts."
If you ever wonder why I remain so focused on my vision to reform the sorry state of health care in America, this is a great example.
Very shortly you will also have an opportunity to help catalyze this transformation. If you haven't already read how you can become a health champion, please do so.