If you’ve been to Primary Care Lecture recently, you may have noticed a tall, dapper gentleman standing in front of the spread of Charro Chicken – that’s the Spiriva guy, a frequent guest by the medicine department to provide food during Primary Care Lecture. They organize Primary Care Lecture Series during the 2nd half of the year and do NOT have a PharmFree policy like we do.
As you all know, in 2006 our department (residents and faculty alike) voted to become PharmFree, and as our policy states our Department cannot prohibit you from partaking in Pharm food, only caution you to the dangerous influence that interactions with drug company reps can have our your clinical judgement and patient care (statements all supported by evidence).
In fact, in January 2009, we saw a new policy (entirely voluntary, mind you) put out by the pharmaceutical industry itself that limits its interactions with physicians. You will see much less Pharm swag; Pens, pads, squishy stress balls will be a thing of the past. Also, the policy states that FOOD MAY BE provided but as part of an educational or informational event by the rep. Technically, since the Spiriva guy has no relation to the topic of PCLS (unless it is of course about COPD), his provision of food violates the pharm companies’ own policy. Just something to think about. Here is the policy: http://www.phrma.org/files/PhRMA%20Marketing%20Code%202008.pdf
And in case you were wondering, PharmFree policies such as ours are mainstream. AMSA has put together a very nice Scorecard that describes the policies of nearly all medical schools. The culture of medicine is, in fact, changing, and you lack of exposure to drug reps is becoming the norm. Visit http://www.pharmfree.org/ for more info.
As you also know, I am just about to purchase a subscription to the Medical Letter, on behalf of EVERYONE in the department, with the money we have “earned” though the CoMed study with Marcy. You will see how the Medical Letter will be integrated into your education in the near future.
I hope this adds some clarity to our policy and spurs some conversation, something we havent had regarding this topic in a while.
Thanks for reading.
Ah. We’re here! 5 residents from our program (Jose, Suganya, Casey, Eva, and myself) arrived in Kansas City, Missouri today for the annual American Academy of Family Practice (AAFP) National Conference of Family Medicine Residents and Medical Students. We’re accompanied by our wonderful program director, Dr. Castro, and our associate program director, Dr. Sanchez. Thinking back, this specific conference is what introduced me to this residency program in the first place. I’m from the east coast — New Jersey and NYC to be specific — and I had no way of knowing what programs fit my interests well. I remember feeling a little down (and exhausted) after walking by many many display booths at this conference when I was a 3rd year medical student. After a few long days of talking to many programs, I felt a connection to a few, a handful of them who I felt really walked the walk and did not just talk the talk in regards to broader public health issues, resident-driven change, and sustainable community outreach. And then — love at first sight. I glanced over at one table where a slideshow was being shared, and I saw photos of residents rallying with SEIU for healthcare reform; I saw photos of resident-driven international trips; I saw photos of residents running the show at a resident-founded homeless clinic. I talked to the residents and faculty at the table, and I heard more of the same, accompanied by a sense of satisfaction and a sense of humility. This was exciting! Long story short, the conference introduced me to my top choice program in the country, and I’m ready to play the role of excitedly sharing the program with medical students.
We set up our display booth this afternoon, which was quite fun, we’re pretty excited about it. We’ll have video from our residents and screenshots of this blog and our wiki (resident-driven collaborative learning/reflecting) on two laptops at our booth.
The freebies here are interesting. There are some really fun ones, like the program that brought the portable popcorn maker and another program that brought a smoothie machine. Some of us think it’s little disappointing to see so many pharmaceutical companies’ huge display booths — very expensive and schmancy ones at that — set up among the family med residency booths. We’re not quite sure what the purpose of them is…
More reporting back from the conference later…