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ETH-004: The Relationship of the Profession to the Health Product Industry

The Relationship of the Profession to the Health Product Industry: The Wisconsin Medical Society believes physicians shall accept no gifts, such as personal items, office supplies, food, travel and time costs, or payment for participation in online CME from any provider of products that they prescribe to their patients. A complete ban eases the burdens of compliance, biased decision-making and patient distrust, and a physician’s prescribing decision should be based on the best evidence available.

The Society affirms the following examples of professional ethical behavior.

  • The direct provision of drug samples to patients should be limited and, when possible, should be replaced by a system of vouchers for evidence-based drug choices.
  • Physicians serving on formulary committees who have any kind of commercial relationship with a health product company shall disclose any such relationship and recuse themselves from the formulary process, as necessary to avoid bias.
  • The Accredited Council for Continuing Medical Education’s (ACCME) Standards for Commercial Support, as adopted by the Wisconsin Medical Society, will be complied with by all accredited Wisconsin CME providers.
  • Physicians should not allow their names to be listed as authors for articles written by health product company employees, a practice called “ghostwriting.”
  • Since ethical collaboration between the profession and the health product industry is essential for the continued development of health products, highintegrity consulting and research relationships shall be strongly encouraged. However, to avoid such relationships being tantamount to a gift, such relationships shall be based in contracts for specific “deliverables” in return for just compensation. (HOD, 0416)

The following language is suggested for a sign to be placed in practice facilities:

Office Sign:


To uphold the highest standards of our Profession,
To ensure our advice is based solely on what’s best for you, and
To enable your highest level of trust in our advice,
We follow the recommendations of the Wisconsin Medical Society,
And accept no gifts from any provider of a product
that we prescribe or recommend to you.