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Pharmaceutical Companies Banned from Giving Gifts at Stanford

an industry trade group, says that the company representatives have an important role to play in educating and training doctors.

Scott Lassman, senior assistant general counsel with the trade group said, "The fact is America's pharmaceutical research companies naturally have the most comprehensive information about the medicines they research and develop. And their sales representatives — many of whom are health care professionals themselves — are well-trained technically and are prepared to answer questions about the benefits, proper use and side effects of drugs."

According to Dr. Harry Greenberg, a professor of medicine at Stanford and a member of the policy making group, said that virtually all information on drugs and devices is now available online.

He said, "There used to be a bigger need for getting information from pharmaceutical representatives, because they could bring you literature. With the internet that issue doesn't really exist anymore."

Cohen, said that while he doesn't fault industry for promoting its good the onus rests on medical institutions. He said, "The indictment is on the medical profession. The profession hasn't properly prepared itself to withstand or defend itself against these activities. It's taken the path of least resistance without really analyzing the unintended consequences."

Stanford officials stated that these measures were mainly undertaken to counter the growing perception that medical institutions are too intertwined with health care corporations that have an inherent interest in promoting their own products.

Dr. Philip Pizzo, dean of the School of Medicine at Stanford said, "It is essential that medical professionals and scientists reclaim the moral high ground and avoid the appearances of conflict of interest."

Cohen said, "The perception that industry is supporting (medical) education erodes the trust by the public that information used to educate ne
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