Ties between drug companies and physicians still too strong
Early success stories at Academic Medical Centers and effective state policies point the way
Boston, MA, April 26, 2007. A new study published today in the New England Journal of Medicine (“A National Survey of Physician-Industry Relationships”) on the extent of doctor and pharmaceutical company relationships, highlights the need for profession-wide and public policy reforms promoted by The Prescription Project. The article concludes that the existing, voluntary PhRMA (Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America) Code isn’t working.
The Prescription Project offers solutions to this continuing crisis by outlining specific suggestions for academic medical centers, physician leadership and policy makers to end industry influence on medicine:
“The fact that 94% of physicians have relationships with pharmaceutical companies is a clear barrier to a trusting and effective doctor patient relationship. Academic medical centers and professional medical societies must take the lead in protecting public trust in the medical profession by adopting reforms,” said David J. Rothman, PhD, Associate Director of The Prescription Project and president of Institute on Medicine as a Profession, which funded the NEJM study.
“Though the financial ties are extensive, the change we are advocating for can be made and must be made. One can look to the example of several leading academic medical centers to see that this approach can work. We now need a profession-wide adoption of those policies at all hospitals, physician practices and professional medical societies,” Rothman continued.
“Legislators across the country are concerned about the influence of the pharmaceutical industry on doctors, and how it affects patient care and costs,” said Rob Restuccia, Director of The Prescription Project. “Proposals to stem the tide of industry gifts and end data-mining are moving to the floors of state houses nationwide.”
- Today, New York legislators joined with national consumer and senior groups to introduce a pair of bills to end data-mining and restrict industry gifts.
- Earlier this week, Minnesota state officials announced a joint effort with consumers and health groups there to strengthen the state’s first-in-nation 1993 gift law.
- Maine and Vermont legislators are debating gifts disclosure and data-mining bills now, and a hearing on an academic-detailing bill is scheduled in Maine next Monday.
“Our ability to support and strengthen coalitions in states like these is crucial to getting policies that preserve the doctor-patient trust in place,” Restuccia said.
Read the full-text article from the New England Journal of Medicine here.