practices or hospitals. The committee found no systematic information on the responses by such organizations but identified examples of conflict of interest or other policies that restrict certain individual or organizational relationships with industry (see, e.g., Kaiser Permanente/TPMG , Vesely , and Henry Ford Health System ). Consistent with the emphasis on professional values in this chapter, this section begins with a review of professional society policies.
Several medical professional organizations have adopted guidelines, codes, or other statements that cover physician relationships with industry, but the committee found no comprehensive overview of statements (or the absence of statements) from professional societies. A selective review of society policies suggests that statements about gifts are fairly common, whereas statements about promotional speaking, ghostwriting, and consulting arrangements are not. A number of professional groups have endorsed a charter for medical professionalism that identifies “maintaining trust by managing conflicts of interest” as 1 of 10 key responsibilities of physicians (ABIM Foundation et al., 2002, p. 245).
Box 6-1 includes excerpts from general statements by AMA and ACP on gifts from industry to physicians. The AMA statement, which was first adopted in 1990, has been endorsed or used as a model by a number of other professional societies, including the American Academy of Pediatrics (Fallat and Glover, 2007), the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (Morgan et al., 2006), and the American College of Rheumatology (ACR, 2007). AMA has also made specific recommendations regarding medical device representatives. It emphasizes that information from or training by such representatives should not be a substitute for the appropriate training of physicians and should be subject to facility policies that govern the presence of such representatives (e.g., informing patients, protecting privacy, and credentialing) (AMA, 2007).
Although ACP strongly discourages the acceptance of gifts and poses some pointed questions for physicians to consider before accepting them, it acknowledges that many physicians feel more comfortable with gifts than the tone of its position statement would imply (Coyle et al., 2002a). The statement observes that “[i]deally, physicians should not accept any promotional gifts or amenities, whatever their value or utility, if they have the potential to cloud professional judgment and compromise patient care” but “[a]s a practical matter, many physicians are comfortable” accepting gifts of modest value that may enhance medical practice or knowledge (p. 398).