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SHOULD DOCTORS BE ABLE TO PROMOTE PARTICULAR MEDICAL PRODUCTS?

A common question that people probably ask themselves is how far do a physician’s advice and actions go? Where is the limit? While many health professionals prescribe and suggest certain drugs and treatments, there is a fine line between prescribing and promoting.

Everything is written in medicine, and some ethics and morals codes limit the physician’s functions, especially when it comes to a pharmaceutical company’s involvement.

The PhRMA Code, the AdvaMed Code, and the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG) committee establish precise guidelines. Each organization has its particular opinions, but they do agree on the following:

  1. A Company should base the calculation of royalties payable to a health care professional in exchange for Intellectual Property. For example, a company’s payment should not be conditioned on the practitioner purchasing, ordering, or promoting a medical product or technology. 1
  2. Companies should not create consulting agreements, fund programs, or directly subsidize the practitioner as inducements or rewards for prescribing or recommending a particular medicine or treatment. 2

In general, the association between healthcare professionals and companies should be limited to supporting innovation, personnel training, respect for clinical judgment, responsible and safe professional practices promotion, and above all, transparency, without misleading advertising. 3