AMA Journal of Ethics®

Illuminating the art of medicine

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AMA Journal of Ethics®

Illuminating the art of medicine

Virtual Mentor. January 2005, Volume 7, Number 1.

Module 6

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Case 6.1: Gifts from Industry—The Cost of Lunch

Option Assessment

A.  

Refusing Melissima's sponsorship of the lunches is acceptable. Although refusing unequivocally avoids all concerns raised in Opinion 8.061, "Gifts to Physicians from Industry," there is no prohibition against industry subsidies.

B.  

Allowing Melissima to sponsor the lunches, rotating industry members regularly and setting a cap on the amount spent per attendee is preferable. Accepting gifts from competing industry members does not violate the Code and the spending limit is supported by the Code. Opinion 8.061, "Gifts to Physicians from Industry" states: "Gifts accepted...should primarily entail a benefit to patients and should not be of substantive value...[and] textbooks, modest meals, and other gifts are appropriate if they serve a genuine educational function."

C.  

Allowing Melissima to sponsor the lunches without a spending limit but rotating industry member regularly should be avoided. It may violate the Code in Opinion 8.061, "Gifts to Physicians from Industry": "Gifts accepted...should primarily entail a benefit to patients and should not be of substantive value...[and] textbooks, modest meals, and other gifts are appropriate if they serve a genuine educational function." Without a spending limit, there is a risk that Melissima or some other industry member would provide more than a modest meal.

D.  

Allowing Melissima to sponsor the lunches indefinitely but setting a cap on the amount spent per attendee is acceptable. It does not violate the Code and the spending limit is supported by the Code in Opinion 8.061, "Gifts to Physicians from Industry": "Gifts accepted...should primarily entail a benefit to patients and should not be of substantive value...[and] textbooks, modest meals, and other gifts are appropriate if they serve a genuine educational function."

E.  

Allowing Melissima to sponsor the lunches indefinitely without a spending limit should be avoided because it may violate the Code in Opinion 8.061, "Gifts to Physicians from Industry": "Gifts accepted...should primarily entail a benefit to patients and should not be of substantive value...[and] textbooks, modest meals, and other gifts are appropriate if they serve a genuine educational function." Without a spending limit, there is a risk that Melissima would provide more than a modest meal.

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