In a statement to HealthLeaders from Board Chairman Ardis Hoven, M.D., the AMA emphasized "prescribing practices should be consistent with the latest scientific information and based on the physicians' best medical judgment." The organization supports a registry that discloses financial relationships between physicians and industry.
The AMA does not claim to discourage pharmaceutical-physician relationships, per se, saying that they can have social and educational value, but that any collaboration should be "transparent and in the best interests of patients."
Further investigation by the report's authors revealed that many of physicians, nurses, and pharmacists receiving payments from the pharmaceutical industry had questionable backgrounds, including documented cases of medical and professional misconduct. Studying licensing records in 18 states, the report revealed sanctions against 250 speakers, including some of the highest paid.
ACP acknowledges that conflicts of interest can arise when physicians are compensated for speaking or writing about a specific product. Organization president Fred Ralston, Jr., M.D., FACP, said these relationships have the potential to influence a physician's attitudes and practices.