Academy Updates Its Ethics Policies as Industry Groups Tighten Guidelines

The landscape for how physicians and industry representatives manage interactions and disclose conflicts of interest has undergone major changes recently. To maintain the highest professional and ethical standards, Academy members should make sure they are aware of the Academy’s updated policy statements and new guidelines from the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers Association (PhRMA) and the Advanced Medical Technology Association (AdvaMed), the industry trade association of medical technology companies.

The PhRMA code, which went into effect Jan. 1, and the AdvaMed code, effective July 1, have similar key prohibitions on physician-industry interactions, including:

  • Companies and their representatives cannot provide or pay for any entertainment or recreational activities for you or your staff, even if business or education is conducted as part of the event.
  • Companies and their representatives cannot distribute any branded non-educational items, such as notepads, mugs, pens or other “reminder” objects that typically have a company or product logo.
  • Only occasional modest meals may be provided to health care professionals, and only in settings conducive to informational presentations. Meals for spouses and guests are not permitted.
Academy Perspective

These are important changes in preserving and enhancing the integrity of the essential and interdependent relationship between physicians and industry representatives. 

The Academy recognizes that members face physician-industry relationship dilemmas every day, and we take the issues seriously. As part of its regular review and updating process, the Academy Board of Trustees has recently approved changes to two documents to make sure Academy guidelines remain in parallel with industry guidelines:
The Academy is also devoting a full hearing to these ethics issues at the Mid-Year Forum in April. Read more about the “No More Free Lunch: The Ethics of Physician Relationships with Industry” session in the preliminary program.

Specific questions about new guidelines for industry interactions can be sent to the Academy ethics staff at [email protected].