Stanford bans sales rep gifts to MDs

Any physician who's had a visit from a pharmaceutical or device sales rep has undoubtedly received pens, mouse pads, calendars and a host of other everyday items bearing the names of various drugs. But now, Stanford University Medical Center will prohibit its physicians from receiving even the most innocuous of gifts, as well as free meals and free drug samples. Yale and the University of Pennsylvania have also instituted similar rules. The new regulations are part of an effort to assure the public that Stanford doctors aren't improperly influenced by gifts from sales reps. "We want to secure the public trust to value what happens in academic medicine," Dr. Philip A. Pizzo, dean of the Stanford School of Medicine, told The New York Times.

This movement may be small-scale right now, but if other institutions follow in Stanford's footsteps, it could have major implications for the pharma and devices industries. Most of the $21 billion drug and device companies spend each year on marketing is directed squarely at physicians.

To learn more about Stanford's crackdown:
- check out the New York Times article