01/20/2008 - When a Duluth-based operator of hospitals and clinics purged the pens, notepads, coffee mugs and other promotional trinkets drug companies had given its doctors over the years, it took 20 shopping carts to haul the loot away.
The operator, SMDC Health System, intends to ship the 18,718 items to the west African nation of Cameroon.
The purge underscored SMDC’s decision to join the growing movement to ban gifts to doctors from drug companies.
The Prescription Project, funded by the Pew Charitable Trusts, was founded to promote the JAMA article’s recommendations for countering aggressive marketing to physicians by the pharmaceutical and medical device industries.
Marcia Hams, assistant director of the project, said she too hadn’t heard of a roundup like SDMC’s, but hopes other health organizations follow its lead.
“This seems like a pretty aggressive way to kick off a policy like that,” she said. “It sends an important message, I think, for how a strict policy can be implemented in an effective way.”
Read the full article Minn. Hospitals, Clinics Purge Drug Co. Trinkets on the MSNBC.com Web site.