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October 23, 1991

Gifts to Physicians From Industry

Author Affiliations

University of Kentucky Lexington

University of Kentucky Lexington

JAMA. 1991;266(16):2221-2222. doi:10.1001/jama.1991.03470160053019

To the Editor.  —The American Medical Association Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs1 stated that gifts to physicians from industry are permissible if they benefit patients and are not of substantial value. The council's advice misses the mark.We should not take gifts from industry when we are not the direct consumers of their products. Is there a difference between a physician accepting a road atlas from a life insurance salesperson and a physician accepting the same atlas from a pharmaceutical representative? Yes, there is. In the first case, the physician is the potential customer of the life insurance company, and the physician is free to choose whether to purchase the insurance. In the second case, the physician is the person who chooses a certain type of medication for the patient, who is the customer. The patient is not free to choose. By accepting the road atlas from the