Intended for healthcare professionals


Individual drug firms should stop paying for medical education

BMJ 2009; 338 doi: (Published 04 February 2009) Cite this as: BMJ 2009;338:b442
  1. Zosia Kmietowicz
  1. 1London

    All educational links between individual drug companies and the medical profession should cease, says a report from the Royal College of Physicians. Gifts to doctors and medical students, including food and travel, should also stop “in the spirit of a more balanced and mutually respectful partnership,” it says.

    The report, which has been produced by a specially convened multisector working party, has examined the relationships between doctors, patients, the NHS, and the industry. Its aim is “to rewrite the contract between patient care and industry in the UK in order to improve national health outcomes,” said Richard Horton, editor of the Lancet, who chaired the working party and was author of the report.

    The report says that patients have lost confidence in the prescribing process because of unequal access to drugs in the United Kingdom and the withholding of information about innovative drugs that could be available to them.

    And patient care is unlikely to improve in the future unless the drug industry and the medical profession can find a way to resolve the tensions between them.

    Trust between the NHS and the industry has broken …

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