Thursday, January 04, 2007

Guidelines Were Meant to be Broken

According to Bloomberg:

Companies that belong to the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers & Associations must adhere to a revised code of ethics that bars them from giving doctors money or other gifts that might influence drug choices, such as paying for trips to golf resorts or luxury hotels. The code, updated Jan. 1 for the first time in a decade, applies to the group's 26 member companies, including Pfizer Inc., and hundreds of other drugmakers that belong to its 46 industry associations.

``What we're trying to do is prevent as many of the activities as possible that have not helped the reputation of the industry,'' IFPMA Director General Harvey E. Bale said in a telephone interview. ``We need to make sure the product is the best product for the patient and it's not influenced by gifts and it's not influenced by hospitality or vacations.''


The IFPMA's new code limits companies to gifts that are work-related and of modest value, such as stethoscopes or medical dictionaries.


Also covered in the IFPMA's revised code are the locations of medical and scientific meetings. These events shouldn't be held in ``renowned or extravagant venues'' and the hospitality shouldn't exceed what doctors would normally be willing for pay themselves, according to the code.

My View: Lipstick on a pig. If Lilly can claim with a straight face that Zyprexa does not cause diabetes, then I'm fairly sure any drug company can just redefine "extravagant,""work related," and "modest value" to suit their needs. The major medical conferences will still be largely supported through drug company funding and academics will still receive lavish salaries for working on drug company sponsored experimercials. There are still misleading journal ads, direct to consumer ads, and drug reps spinning off all sorts of half-truths (at best).

Hat Tip: Anonymous Reader and PharmaGossip.

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