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Medical Schools Struggle with Ethical Issues

Medical Schools Struggle with Ethical Issues

June 06, 2008 In the News

The American Medical Student Association (AMSA) was founded in 1959 and has more than 67,000 members. On June 3, 2008, the AMSA released a press release focused on conflicts of interest (COI) between medical schools' education and pharmaceutical companies. The AMSA used a "report card" format to highlight their findings as follows:

  • 7 schools received an "A"
  • 14 schools were awarded a "B"
  • 4 received a "C"
  • 19 received a "D"
  • 60 received an "F"
  • 28 schools were "in process" and not included in the report card findings

AMSA reported the pharmaceutical industry spends between $28 billion and $46 billion per year marketing to physicians, which translates to an average of $35,000 per year, per physician. AMSU reported there are 100,000 pharmaceutical reps in the United States, providing lunches, gifts, medication samples, and selected literature to influence physicians to prescribe "more drugs and more expensive" drugs. AMSA is actively working to extricate these (and similar) marketing practices form medical education, and to support evidence-based outcomes and improved health care. Earlier in the year, the Association of American Medical Colleges called for significant reform and the adaptation of powerful COI policies to address these same concerns.

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