MN health system bans all items with drug company logos

OK, think about this: when's the last time you entered a doctor's office or hospital and looked around--without seeing a single pharmaceutical company logo anywhere within eye-shot? Not recently, I'll bet. But that's just what the SMDC Health System of Duluth, MN is hoping to accomplish with its new policy, which bans all drug company freebies with company names or logos on them. Thanks to the new policy, SMDC employees have turned in a staggering 18,700 items, including clocks, mugs, calculators, tape dispensers and stress balls. Of course, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America is none too pleased, calling the measure "draconian."

Along the way, the health system is also refusing to let drug companies sponsor educational conferences or display materials at them, a move which will cost the organization at least $100,000 a year, according to one administrator there. To be sure, SMDC hasn't banned all drug companies from its presence. It's still going to allow them to provide educational sessions for doctors and patients. However, the materials they use must pass through the system's educational specialists, who will attempt to fact-check the content and provide scientific balance.

To learn more about the ban:
- read this piece from the Minneapolis Star-Tribune

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UC Davis mulls pharma freebies ban. Article
FierceHealthcare readers debate ethics of freebies. Letters

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