Ethics

Gifts to Physicians from Industry

Code of Medical Ethics Opinion 9.6.2

Relationships among physicians and professional medical organizations and pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and medical device companies help drive innovation in patient care and contribute to the economic well-being of the community to the ultimate benefit of patients and the public. However, an increasingly urgent challenge for both medicine and industry is to devise ways to preserve strong, productive collaborations at the same time that they take clear effective action to prevent relationships that damage public trust and tarnish the reputation of both parties.

Gifts to physicians from industry create conditions that carry the risk of subtly biasing—or being perceived to bias—professional judgment in the care of patients.

To preserve the trust that is fundamental to the patient-physician relationship and public confidence in the profession, physicians should:

(a) Decline cash gifts in any amount from an entity that has a direct interest in physicians’ treatment recommendations.

(b) Decline any gifts for which reciprocity is expected or implied.

(c) Accept an in-kind gift for the physician’s practice only when the gift:

  1. Will directly benefit patients, including patient education
  2. Is of minimal value

(d) Academic institutions and residency and fellowship programs may accept special funding on behalf of trainees to support medical students’, residents’, and fellows’ participation in professional meetings, including educational meetings, provided:

  1. The program identifies recipients based on independent institutional criteria
  2. Funds are distributed to recipients without specific attribution to sponsors
AMA Principles of Medical Ethics: II

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Code of Medical Ethics: Professional Self-Regulation

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