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World Medical Association reviews doctors' links with drug companies

BMJ 2003; 326 doi: (Published 29 May 2003) Cite this as: BMJ 2003;326:1165
  1. Susan Mayor
  1. London

    No individual doctors should receive direct payment from commercial companies to cover travelling expenses, room and board at a conference, or compensation for their time, according to proposed guidelines from the World Medical Association.

    The association is developing the guidelines to clarify the relationship between doctors and commercial enterprises, including the pharmaceutical industry. Underpinning the proposals is the need for doctors to disclose and avoid competing interests.

    The guidelines, discussed at a recent meeting of the association, acknowledge the complex nature of the relationship between doctors and industry. They also acknowledge that a potential conflict of interest clearly exists when a commercial enterprise, such as a pharmaceutical or medical supplies company, has direct or indirect influence over doctors' behaviour because it offers financial support.

    However, the association acknowledged that industry support was …

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