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AMSA PharmFree Scorecard Grades U.S. Medical Schools on Conflict-of-Interest Policies; Only 7 Receive an 'A'
Date:6/3/2008

rrently under review or revision.

Pharmaceutical industry marketing to doctors has been estimated at $28 billion to $46 billion per year, with additional promotion by the medical device industry. This equates, conservatively, to $35,000 per year in marketing directed at each physician, on average. More than 100,000 pharmaceutical sales representatives regularly visit U.S. physicians, providing free lunches, gifts, medication samples and carefully-selected medical literature to promote their products. These presentations and personal relationships are designed to influence doctors to prescribe more drugs and more expensive drugs and have often become a substitute for objective medical evidence.

"It is time to extricate marketing practices from medical education," says Dr. Brian Hurley, AMSA's national president. "There is substantial evidence that marketing shapes physician prescribing habits. By eliminating the gifts and the misleading information that pharma reps currently bring into our schools, hospitals and academic medical centers, physicians will be able to better practice evidence-based medicine. And that translates into better care for our patients."

"AMSA's Scorecard is meant to be not only a yardstick for measuring U.S. medical school conflict-of-interest policies, but also a guide for medical schools working toward adopting stronger and more practical policies," continues Hurley.

In April, the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) proposed sweeping recommendations calling for medical schools to adopt strong conflict-of-interest policies to address industry interactions. The AAMC recommendations affirm reforms that the Prescription Project and AMSA have actively promoted. The AMSA PharmFree Scorecard, along with an escalating push for policy reform by the AAMC, students, physicians, consumer groups, and federal and state policymakers is a clarion call for low-scoring schools to take action.

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SOURCE American Medical Student Association
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