Development of residency program guidelines for interaction with the pharmaceutical industry. Education Council, Residency Training Programme in Internal Medicine, Department of Medicine, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ont.
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Medical residency programs are likely to face increasing pressure to address their relations with the pharmaceutical industry. Our internal medicine residency program has developed guidelines that were adopted after extensive debate by residents and faculty members. The guidelines are based on the principles that residents and faculty should set the educational agenda and that the residency program should not allow gifts of any sort from industry to residents. Specific policies include obtaining and screening educational materials from the industry before residents are exposed to them, proscribing "drug lunches" and accepting industry sponsorship only when the residency program maintains complete control of the educational event being sponsored. The industry response to the guidelines was split; about half reacted negatively, and half found the guidelines acceptable. Our experience suggests that productive debate about guidelines for the interaction of residency programs with the pharmaceutical industry is possible and desirable and that explicit policies can clarify areas of ambiguity.
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