Medical School Policy of Pharmaceutical Sale Representative’s Interactions with Medical Students and Residents

The pharmaceutical industry and physicians have had a long and storied relationship.  Physicians often rely upon pharmaceutical representatives to provide them information about new medications, side effects, and the cost structure of various medications.  Likewise, pharmaceutical representatives are anxious to present information about medications to physicians in order to make them aware of new developments that might be of aid to patients.  KU School of Medicine recognizes that interaction and communications between pharmaceutical representatives and health care providers are legal and actually quite common.  However we also acknowledge there is opportunity for abuse in these relationship and such interactions may not always be in the best interest of patients.

Clearly, the school of medicine cannot prevent its students, residents or faculty from interactions with pharmaceutical representatives.  Rather it is important to educate our students and residents about the nature of the pharmaceutical representative/physician interaction, potential pitfalls in such interactions, potential benefits from such interaction, and the limits of receiving gifts or other perquisites from pharmaceutical representatives.  Therefore there are structured educational programs in the medical student curriculum that review these issues and provide insights to our learners.  These educational programs also review the policies that have been created by the American College of Physicians http://www.annals.org/cgi/reprint/136/5/396.pdf, American Medical Association http://www.ama-assn.org, and other agencies.

The school recognizes that certain chairs and department leaders may have specific rules about the propriety of interaction with pharmaceutical representatives in departmental offices and clinics.  The school recognizes the prerogative of the chairs and department directors in making these decisions but will, in no way, interfere with those decisions unless they are in direct violation of the ethical guidelines promulgated by the American Medical Association.

The school recognizes that once our graduates leave our institution it is extremely likely they will interact with pharmaceutical representatives and medical device representatives.  It is important that they are prepared to engage these personnel in a manner that is ethical as well as helpful for their patients.

Approved by the Academic Committee of the School of Medicine 8/8/06.

Last modified: Aug 13, 2012
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