That's what a group of influential physicians are calling for in the Jan. 25 issue of JAMA, according to this article in Forbes. Among the things they're looking to ban:
- A ban on providing drug samples to physicians. A system of vouchers for low-income patients or some other system of indirect distribution could take its place.
- A ban on manufacturers' providing support, direct or indirect, to continuing medical education activities. A centralized fund should be established for manufacturers to contribute funds for physician travel or consulting, so doctors would be insulated from influence by any one donor.
- Doctors with financial relationships with drug companies should not participate in hospital and medical group formulary groups or committees overseeing purchases.
- Academic medical center faculty should not serve as members of speakers bureaus for drug or device makers, nor should they publish articles or editorials ghostwritten by industry employees.
- Open-ended grants and gifts should be prohibited. Terms of consulting and research contracts should be posted on a publicly available Web site to promote more transparency. Disclosure of financial relationships, the authors stated, is not sufficient to eliminate conflicts of interest.
Among the ban's supporters are David J. Rothman, president of the Institute of Medicine as a Profession at Columbia University, New York; Jerome Kassirer, MD, former editor-in-chief of the New England Journal of Medicine; Jordan Cohen, MD, president of the Association of American Medical Colleges; and David Blumenthal, MD, director of the Institute for Health Policy at Massachusetts General Hospital.
Update: Here's the New York Times take on the ban proposed in today's JAMA. One interesting point in the NYT article is that even one of the docs who proposed the ban says he doubts it would actually happen.