Johns Hopkins Medicine has become the latest medical school to bar gifts from pharmaceutical companies. New policies announced Wednesday prohibit the acceptance of gifts or entertainment -- including food -- regardless of value, from pharmaceutical and medical device companies. Consulting arrangements that carry compensation but no real duties also are barred. Beginning in 2010, Hopkins will no longer accept free pharmaceutical samples, although in some limited cases, it will use "de-identified samples " (those without the brand name or manufacturer's name) for patient education. While consulting work for drug companies will not be barred, reporting requirements to prevent conflicts of interest will be strengthened. "Industry plays a crucial role in advancing medical research and treatments, and the intent is not to discourage principled partnerships," says Julie Gottlieb, assistant dean and director of the Johns Hopkins Medicine Office of Policy Coordination, 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."
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