Johns Hopkins puts screws on industry

Yet another medical school is distancing itself from industry influence. This time, it's Johns Hopkins Medical School, whose new policy on "Interaction with Industry" will ban gifts and meals from drugmakers--and limit its doctors' speaking and consulting deals with pharma, too.

Taking effect July 1, the policy prohibits any pharma-funded gifts and entertainment, no matter how small their value. Drug reps will be restricted to no-patients-allowed parts of the teaching hospital and its clinics--and will be allowed even in those areas only by invitation. And beginning in 2010, the school will also bar free drug samples.

Doctors won't be able to collect consulting pay unless it comes with "commensurate associated duties." They can only serve as paid speakers if the company has no right to dictate a presentation's content and if the company has no final approval over the content. And any donations from industry have to be given to the hospital as a whole, rather than to individual doctors. Drugmakers won't be allowed to sponsor department meetings, retreats or social events, either.

"Industry plays a crucial role in advancing medical research and treatments, and the intent is not to discourage principled partnerships," Julie Gottlieb, assistant dean, said in a statement. "The major reason for developing this policy is to limit the impact of industry marketing influence on faculty and physicians' decision making and by so doing protect patients."

- read the Johnson Hopkins release
- here's the full policy (.pdf)
- see the Washington Business Journal story
- check out the post at the Health Blog

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