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PhRMA revises code for pharmaceutical company gifts


WASHINGTON Starting next year, pharmaceutical companies will no longer be able to give pens and mugs to health-care professionals under ethics guidelines in the latest revision of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers Association’s PhRMA Code, the first revision in six years.

Despite the minimal value of such items, PhRMA expressed concern that such gifts “may foster misperceptions that company interactions with healthcare professionals are not based on informing them about medical and scientific issues.”

The guidelines also prohibit representatives from pharmaceutical companies from treating health-care professionals to meals in restaurants, though they can still provide occasional meals in their offices.

The House of Representatives’ Subcommittee on Health is considering a bill, the Physician Payments Sunshine Act, which would create an online database of pharmaceutical companies’ gifts to physicians and penalize those that failed to disclose.

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