UPMC plans rollout of drugmaker relationship limits

The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center is planning the rollout of a newly-tough conflict-of-interest policy which would greatly curtail traditional relationships between its providers and pharmaceutical companies. The new policy will not only set new rules for accepting drug samples, but will also restrict consulting deals, ban gifts from pharma reps and more. These changes would put UPMC on the cutting edge of a growing movement to limit pharma and device-maker influence on academic medical center campuses.

The new rules, which should become effective early next year, would set up a central facility to accept drug samples and distribute them to doctors--and reps wouldn't be allowed to visit clinical facilities unless they register with the administration. Reps that try to sidestep the rules and go straight to doctors could be banned from the campus for a year or more.

Other provisions of the new code would bar personnel from UPMC or is School of Health Sciences from accepting gifts from pharma reps, including tickets, food and even pens and note pads. Clinicians and others will not be able to accept industry-backed speaking engagements unless their fee is limited to a maximum of $2,500 and they present a balanced lecture. Also, Health Sciences personnel wouldn't be allowed to make consulting agreements with pharmas unless they were approved by a dean, department chair or administrator.

To get (a lot) more detail about UPMC's plans:
- read this Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article

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