In Article, Doctors Back Ban on Gifts From Drug Makers

The gifts, drugs and classes that makers of pharmaceuticals and medical devices routinely give doctors undermine medical care, hurt patients and should be banned, a group of influential doctors say in today’s issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association.

Medical schools and teaching hospitals should be the first to establish a comprehensive ban, the group writes. But the authors argue that all doctors should eventually follow suit.

Broadly adopted, the recommendations would transform doctors’ day-to-day lives and shut off the focus of drug makers’ biggest expenditures. But Dr. David Blumenthal, an author of the article, said it was “not very likely” that many in medicine would listen to the group.

“I’m not very optimistic,” said Dr. Blumenthal, a professor at Harvard Medical School who, like many of the article’s 10 other authors, has studied conflicts of interest in medicine for years.

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