ACP-ASIM updates ethical advice for relationships between physicians and industry

of the industry offer and ask what patients and colleagues would think if they knew of the offer or relationship. ACP-ASIM says that it might be acceptable for physicians to accept inexpensive gifts for office use, such as pens and calendars; low-cost gifts of an educational or patient-care nature, such a medical books; and modest hospitality, such as food at a legitimate educational program.

2. ACP-ASIM advises physicians involved in financial relationships with industry (such as by giving talks, conducting research, referring patients for clinical trials, or investing in services or facilities) to avoid relationships that might compromise their objective clinical judgment or their ability to serve the best interest of patients. Physicians must disclose a financial interest in medical facilities or research studies to which they refer or recruit patients.

3. Public and private providers of graduate and continuing medical education that accept industry support should be aware of potential conflicts of interest and should maintain complete control of program planning, content and delivery.

4. Medical professional societies that accept industry support or other external funding should be aware of the potential for conflicts of interest to develop. They should develop explicit policies to preserve the ethical standards and credibility of the society and the professionalism of their members. There are no easy answers to many ethical questions, said William E. Golden, MD, chair of the ACP-ASIM Ethics and Human Rights Committee that developed the paper. But the committee felt a duty to address these issues, and our decision was to promote the independent judgment and professionalism of our members.


Contact: Susan Anderson
American College of Physicians

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