The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario, said to be the largest medical regulator in Canada, has proposed a policy addressing physicians’ relationships with industry. Among other matters, physicians would be unable to accept “personal gifts of any value from industry or industry representatives.” The proposed prohibition is based on “[r]esearch demonstrat[ing] that accepting gifts or inducements from industry influences and likely undermines a physician’s independent clinical judgment, even where the physician believes otherwise.”
The proposal would also bar physicians from requesting or accepting a fee or equivalent consideration in exchange for “seeing industry representatives in a promotional or similar capacity,” although they could accept items “that advance disease/treatment education (e.g. patient teaching aids),” preferably with a company logo only and eschewing any reference to “specific therapeutic agents, services, or other products.” Physicians would also be allowed to accept drug samples, as well as modestly valued meals during product presentations. Additional requirements would address educational conferences, speaker fees and participation on industry advisory boards. Comments on the proposal are requested by May 14, 2014. See National Post, March 30, 2014.