U of Pitt Med Center plans drug, device gift ban

The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) is poised to implement a new policy banning physicians and other employees from accepting virtually any type of pharma or device-maker freebies. If it moves ahead, UPMC would join a growing list of academic medical centers and other facilities that have instituted tight controls on such gifts. Employees and physicians who break the rules could face written reprimands and even loss of hospital privileges.

To address concerns raised by the plan's biggest critics--who say barring the acceptance of samples would harm poor patients--the school would look into setting up a voucher program giving patients access to meds at no cost to them.  Only if the voucher approach failed would providers be allowed to make a special request for samples. The problem, critics say, is that such an approach could dramatically delay drug access by the poor and uninsured. Some institutions instituting similar controls, such as the Henry Ford Health System, have continued to permit physicians to accept samples under some circumstances.

To find out more about this trend:
- read this Pittsburgh Post-Gazette piece

Related Articles:
Stanford bans sales rep gifts to doctors. Article
UC Davis mulls pharma freebies ban. Article
"Let he who is without conflict-of-interest cast the first stone." Editor's Corner
Doctors reading FierceHealthcare weigh in on the pros and cons of accepting drug/device freebies is unethical. Things get pretty heated ... Letters
Group: Few med schools free of pharma influence. Report