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  • GSK Takes a Stand on Payments to Physicians…Who’s Next?

    GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) announced that it will make big changes in its marketing practices by no longer paying physicians to promote its products. It is the first (and hopefully not the last) major pharmaceutical company to address some questionable, and unfortunately popular, marketing techniques that have the potential to create conflicts of interest for physicians. Under its new policy, GSK will no longer pay physicians to speak on its behalf to medical professionals at conferences and other events. Its compensation model for pharmaceutical sales representatives will also move away from one focused on physicians’ prescribing habits.

    Though this policy change is significant, it is part of a growing trend to improve transparency of financial relationships between physicians and pharmaceutical and medical device companies. This movement is evident in federal policy--the Physician Payment Sunshine Act’s Open Payments website will publicly disclose industry payments made to physicians and teaching hospitals starting in September 2014--and in the policies being adopted at medical schools and teaching hospitals. Just last week our partner at The Pew Charitable Trusts released best practices in conflict-of-interest policies.

    GSK’s announcement will send ripples through the entire pharmaceutical industry, and we hope that other major companies will also end the ...

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  • Moving COI Policies Up A Notch: New Recommendations from an Expert Task Force

    It’s no secret that medical device and pharmaceutical companies have had long-standing relationships with medical schools and teaching hospitals. And although fruitful collaborations with these companies, primarily for research and collaboration, should continue, some of these relationships have gone too far. Although many schools have significantly strengthened their conflict-of-interest policies that govern these relationships, industry still brings biased information into our nation’s medical education training grounds—places that should be steeped in evidence-based learning. One recent survey of medical schools, for example, found that up to half of medical students and residents reported receiving personal gifts from pharmaceutical companies, even in schools graded highly on the AMSA Scorecard.
     
    Conflict-of-interest policies, guidelines for how industry can (or cannot) interact with an institution, are key to preventing this industry overreach. There is evidence demonstrating that COI policies at medical schools can, in fact, impact prescribing behavior. One study showed that graduates from schools with strong COI policies prescribed antidepressants more rationally than graduates with weaker or no COI policies. 
     
    Today, The Pew Charitable Trusts, in partnership with an expert task force of leaders from academic medicine and other partners, including AMSA, released a set of 15 best practices for medical ...

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