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Request to soften AMA's gift guidelines rejected

At the request of a group of Washington, D.C. physicians, the American Medical Association's House of Delegates considered, and rejected, a resolution that would revise the kinds of gifts physicians could accept from the pharmaceutical industry. The D.C. doctors stated that the current guidelines are "cumbersome, onerous, and inconsistent, in that it undervalues physicians' time as professionals."

The physicians want AMA delegates to create a "separate parallel policy" that would allow them to accept gifts "under more realistic guidelines," reported the Chicago Tribune (6/10/04). Current AMA policy allows physicians to accept money for educational or research purposes from the pharmaceutical industry, as long as it comes through another organization or foundation.

The House of Delegates rejected the resolution, according to a preliminary report of its actions. It noted that creating a parallel policy would be confusing and that watering down current AMA guidelines could increase the risk of liability for physicians.