Drug industry revises conduct code to ban gifts to doctors

From the Associated Press

Drug company sales representatives will have to stop giving out coffee mugs and pens that push their products when they visit doctor’s offices. But they can still sneak in the occasional free lunch.

Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America announced Thursday that it had revised its conduct code for interacting with healthcare professionals. The updated guidelines ban knickknacks that bear company and product logos.

Sales representatives also are prohibited from providing restaurant meals and entertainment or recreation. But they can still provide the occasional meal in a healthcare professional’s office “in conjunction with informational presentations,” according to a statement from the drug industry group.

The association represents pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies and is made up of executives from companies in the industry.


The new rules take effect Jan. 1. The trade group said meetings between sales representatives and doctors should focus on informing healthcare professionals about products, sharing scientific and educational information and supporting research and education.

“We are also concerned that our interactions with healthcare professionals not be perceived as inappropriate by patients or the public at large,” the Washington-based association said in a news release. “This code is to reinforce our intention that our interactions with healthcare professionals are professional exchanges designed to benefit patients and to enhance the practice of medicine.”