UC Davis mulls pharma freebies ban

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Jumping on a trend that seems to be gathering momentum, the UC Davis Health System may be the next medical center to strictly limit how much pharma company swag doctors are allowed to accept. Interestingly, the initiative is being driven by Garen Wintemute, an emergency doctor and UC Davis professor, rather than a bioethics think tank or executive board looking to polish its reputation. The effort is also endorsed by many UC Davis medical students.

While the restrictions are only at the proposal stage, the medical center's Pharmacy and Therapeutics committee has recommended that the center:

  • Ban all gifts, free meals, travel reimbursements or other payback from medical device or pharma companies for attending meetings, or payment for taking part in online medical education.
  • Stop accepting free drug samples from pharma sales reps, using a voucher system instead to help indigent patients get the medications they need.
  • Exclude providers with ties to pharma or medical device makers from hospital or medical group committees that buy drugs or devices.

The new restrictions are being considered by the medical center's executive committee. If the executive committee approves the recommendations, UC Davis would be joining Stanford University, Yale University and the University of Pennsylvania, which have already adopted similar policies.

Learn more about the medical freebies issue at UC Davis:
- read this article in The Sacramento Bee

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As you might expect, MDs reading FierceHealthcare disagree strongly as to whether accepting drug/device freebies is unethical. Letters