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Royal college issues new guidelines on gifts from drugs companies

BMJ 2002; 325 doi: (Published 07 September 2002) Cite this as: BMJ 2002;325:511
  1. Ann McGuaran
  1. London

    Updated guidelines setting out boundaries for relationships between hospital doctors and healthcare firms are contained in a new paper from the Royal College of Physicians.

    First produced in 1986, the advice defines the current position of the college on hospitality for meetings, gifts, grants, research, declarations of interest, and doctors acting as consultants to industry. It extends the coverage of guidance beyond pharmaceutical companies to include all biomedical firms.

    The report, in the July-August edition of the college's journal Clinical Medicine (2002;2: 320-2), sees a danger that money from biomedical firms might be used to interfere with a physician's independent professional judgment.

    Dr John Collins, medical director at the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Trust, is joint author of the paper with treasurer of the Royal College of Physicians, Dr John Bennett.

    Dr Collins said, “We are widening the guidelines to other organisations and probably being more prescriptive in terms of third party handling of funds. Always have your financial arrangements done through a third party.”

    He believes that inappropriate relationships with business are much less likely than in the 1980s but adds: “I suspect that the vast majority of practising clinicians do not prescribe medicines because a company has funded them to go to a conference. However, if you were a non-medically qualified individual looking at a …

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