Pitt may add strict pharma gift rules to its books

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The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center has proposed a policy banning pens, drug samples and almost all other swag from pharmaceutical and medical equipment representatives.

The draft policy would apply to faculty, staff and students of UPMC and the university’s Schools of the Health Sciences and other professionals and staff.

With the policy, Pitt would join a growing list of academic medical centers restricting drug company promotion, even small gifts like pizza and pens. These schools include the University of Pennsylvania, Yale University and the University of Michigan.

Last year Stanford University took the added step of extending the limits of its own new pharma gift rules to informal, unaccredited educational events, as well. Pitt is planning to do the same, Frank Raczkiewicz, acting director of the UPMC News Bureau, told MM&M.

"The same rules would apply to all educational programs, whether or not CME credit is being given," Raczkiewicz said in an e-mail.

In order to mitigate the effect of banning drug samples on uninsured and low-income patients, UPMC officials are considering creating a database of manufacturer assistance programs and investigating the feasibility of a voucher program that would allow patients to obtain medication at no cost, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

The UPMC policy could go into effect by early next year.

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