AAMC urges gift ban, CME oversight

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Medical schools and teaching hospitals should ban gifts to physicians and other faculty, staff, students and trainees,  whether on-site or off-site, including food and travel, said the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC). 

According to a report of the AAMC Task Force on Industry Funding of Medical Education, sales reps should see docs only by invitation or appointment, and medical schools should develop a means for reps to detail “by invitation in faculty supervised structured group settings that provide the opportunity for interaction and critical evaluation.” Student interaction with reps “should occur only for educational purposes under faculty supervision.”

On CME, medical colleges “should develop audit mechanisms to assure compliance” with ACCME standards and “should establish a central CME office through which all requests for industry support and receipt of funds for CME activity are coordinated and overseen.” Faculty should be “strongly discouraged” from participating in pharma-funded speakers' bureaus. Students, faculty and trainees should be banned from participating in non-ACCME accredited industry events or accepting payment for attendance at industry-sponsored meetings. Schools should ban ghostwriting “on presentations of any kind, oral or written…by any party, industry or otherwise,” said AAMC. 

The report, by an AAMC task force chaired by former Merck head Roy Vagelos, included a few key dissents. Amgen's Kevin Sharer supported the “explicit recommendations of the task force” but said he's “not in a position to endorse the text.”  

Pfizer's Jeff Kindler and Eli Lilly's Sidney Taurel supported all of the recommendations of the 
report except for that of a ban on industry-sponsored speaker programs, and added: “We do so 
without endorsing all of the supporting arguments used in the body of the report,” and suggested that “the reasoning for many of the recommendations is directionally correct, but more often than not the potential issues addressed reflect perceptions rather than proven consequences.” 
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