Wisconsin med society bans pharma gifts

December 5, 2008
Morgan Lewis Jr.

The Wisconsin Medical Society has prohibited its members from accepting gifts from any provider of products that they prescribe to their patients.

The Wisconsin Medical Society has prohibited its members from accepting gifts-including personal items, office supplies, food, travel and time costs, or payment for participation in online continuing medical education-from any provider of products that they prescribe to their patients.

"This policy is strong and clear," says Steven Bergin, MD, president of the 12,000-member medical society. "It leaves no doubt that the society's physicians want to prevent even the impression that a gift, no matter how small, could get in the way of a physician's decision-making."

The policy goes further by requiring that physicians limit drug samples to patients and instead use a system of vouchers for evidence-based drug choices, and that they should avoid membership on formulary committees where there is a potential perceived conflict of interest. Physicians should also not serve on speaker bureaus for health product companies, according to the policy.

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