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Pharmaceutical manufacturers who attempt to influence prescribing decisions by offering physicians expense-paid trips to luxury resorts and cash for attending drug "seminars" will find themselves in violation of new international ethical standards that took effect on January 1, 2007.
The new restrictions, adopted by the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers & Associations (IFPMA), allow manufacturers to provide physicians with "modest" gifts that are "work-related," such as stethoscopes or medical dictionaries. Expensive travel junkets or extravagant gifts of cash or other valuables are prohibited under the policy. The rules apply to IFPMA's 26 member companies, as well as hundreds of other pharmaceutical firms that belong to the group's 46 drug-industry-association members worldwide.