So long free lunch
Toby Reynolds reports on the recent decision by a US medical school to stop students receiving gifts from the pharmaceutical industry
- By: Toby Reynolds
Free lunches are on their way out at Stanford Medical School. So are free pens, bags, and sticky notepads, now that the prestigious US university's medical centre has banned students and faculty members from accepting gifts from the pharmaceutical industry.
Stanford, which introduced its new regulations in October, joins a number of other schools trying to limit the influence of marketing on doctors by drug companies. Yale and the University of Pennsylvania have brought in similar rules in the past 18 months.
Existing guidelines rule out gifts worth more than $100 (£53; €79), but free food, books, writing equipment, and other small handouts are commonplace, and are often also offered to students much as they are for doctors.
The desire to clamp down further reflects a growing concern within academic medicine in the United States that close relationhips between the representatives of drug companies and doctors may influence the care