Henry Ford bans pharma perks, vendor drop-ins

Yet another large health system has imposed a crackdown on drug company payola this week, and it's a doozy. This time the player is Detroit's Henry Ford Health System, which as of January 1 will forbid physicians from accepting free lunches, gifts and other perks. Not only is Henry Ford banning more obvious forms of bribery--such as free trips or elaborate luncheons--it won't even let vendors distribute promotional products (think the ubiquitous drugmaker pens) or product literature.

At the same time, Henry Ford is setting up an elaborate, aggressive system designed to control vendor relationships with its employees. The system has taken the unusual step of requiring drug and medical equipment company reps to be certified if they want to do business there. To get certified, vendors will have to take a certification class sponsored by Henry Ford and get a special ID. Then, vendors who want to visit with Henry Ford staff members will need to call in to a vendor appointment call center, which will verify and confirm the appointment prior to its taking place. Upon arrival, vendors will need to stop in at a confirmation checkpoint and check in with their e-mailed confirmation letter before being seen.

To learn more about Henry Ford's move:
- see the details in the Henry Ford press release
- read this Detroit Free Press article