Updated Guidelines on Doctors’ Relationships with Industry

28 Feb 2019

The AMA has updated the Guidelines on Doctors’ Relationships with Industry. The purpose of the document is to help doctors manage actual and perceived conflicts of interest when they work with industry.

The updated guidelines expand on doctors’ ethical obligations which should be guided by the primacy of patient care and ensure relationships with industry that:

  • reflect core professional values such as transparency, accountability, trust and fairness;
  • do not compromise, or be perceived to compromise, doctors’ professional judgment and professional integrity;
  • are open and transparent, able to withstand public and professional scrutiny, meet public and professional standards and expectations and adhere to relevant legislative and regulatory requirements;
  • promote effective stewardship and responsible use of health care resources; and
  • uphold professional autonomy and clinical independence.

The updated document also includes a section on marketing and promotion that advises doctors to recognise the influence industry marketing has on their behaviours and encourages doctors to be aware of the influence marketing can have on a patient’s expectations and requests for inappropriate medications and treatments.

The guidelines have also updated the position on dispensing, which now advise that should a doctor choose to dispense therapeutic products, they should be mindful of actual or perceived conflicts of interest and only dispense products that are evidence-based.

Ultimately, the document outlines that transparency is key to ensuring relationships with industry do not compromise public trust in the medical profession and ensures the best outcome for patients.

Read the full Guidelines on Doctors’ Relationships with Industry 2018 here. For more information on the updates, read Dr Chris Moy's article in Australian Medicine. If you have any questions, please send them through to ethics@ama.com.au.