New Policy Halts Industry Perks

In a major policy shift, Vanderbilt University Medical Center will no longer allow faculty, staff, residents or students to accept personal gifts from industry, regardless of the nature or value of the gift. The policy is a response to patient concerns nationwide that medical decisions are influenced by drug companies.

“A colleague at another institution told me about a patient who was given a prescription and said to the doctor, ‘Are you prescribing this drug because that’s what’s printed on your pen?’ That says how powerful this issue is,” says Dr. Steven Gabbe,dean of Vanderbilt University School of Medicine.

Drug representatives may continue to meet with physicians and to supply free samples through the outpatient pharmacy, but they may not attend conferences and continuing medical education classes.

The policy is being phased in over a six-month period, with July 1 as the target date for compliance. It focuses on nonresearch use of industry products and will not affect research relationships or activities.

“This policy is a practical guide for physician interaction with industry,” says Gabbe. “It will give the public great assurance to know that our decisions are based on what’s best for them.”

VUMC’s executive leadership is soliciting feedback on the policy, available by clicking here.

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