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The Medical Council has published revised guidance for doctors on relationships with industry, including pharmaceutical and medical device companies and other industry bodies, to clarify its stance on the ethics of the matter.

Updates and new additions to the guidance were drafted following a targeted consultation process with key stakeholders, including information on the acceptance of gifts and hospitality, ethics on meeting attendance and sponsorship from pharmaceutical companies and medical device companies, along with other relevant industry topics that are subject to industry regulation.

Úna O’Rourke, Director of Education, Training and Professionalism at the Medical Council, commented on the importance of this update: “Professionalism is at the core of the patient doctor relationship and is absolutely fundamental for patient safety and the delivery of high-quality health care. This latest guidance document developed by the Medical Council is a support tool which demonstrates how doctors are expected to behave and act ethically when working and interacting with industry bodies”.

The Medical Council’s Guide to Professional Conduct and Ethics (8th Edition 2016) states that doctors should not rely solely on promotional literature distributed by pharmaceutical companies for information about particular drugs or medical devices. Instead, they should source independent, evidence-based information on the benefits and risks of all medication and medical devices before they prescribe them.

The new guidance is available to view at  https://www.medicalcouncil.ie/News-and-Publications/Reports/Relationships-between-doctors-and-industry-FAQs-2018.pdf.