AMA President, Dr Rosanna Capolingua, said today that pharmaceutical company sponsored education seminars providing doctors with new information about medicines must comply with the Medicines Australia (MA) Code of Conduct.
The AMA supports the delivery of this information because it is in the best interests of patients that doctors are fully informed about new or improved utilisation of medicines.
"New and improved medicines save lives and improve the quality of life for Australians with illness," Dr Capolingua said.
"Pharmaceutical companies who research and develop medicines have the most extensive information about a therapeutic drug, including its benefits and possible side-effects, and pass on this information at education seminars. Currently, this is a rapid and readily available comprehensive source of education about these new or improved medicines.
"It is a great advantage for doctors who attend these education seminars to be able to interrogate the manufacturers of the medicine, discuss and look at the data, and gain knowledge before prescribing it for their patients.
"Doctor education for medicines is essential for the quality use of medicines.
"Doctors will prescribe appropriate medicines for patients based on clinical needs.
"We support the Medicines Australia Code of Conduct as the appropriate mechanism to rule out any inappropriate marketing and promotion by the pharmaceutical companies of their products.
"It is incumbent upon Medicines Australia to enforce its Code so that the community can have confidence in the integrity of these education programs," Dr Capolingua said.
The AMA supports an efficient, financially viable, and innovative pharmaceutical industry. Australians are very fortunate to have relatively quick access to new medicines that are safe and affordable.
The AMA Code of Ethics maintains that doctors must safeguard their clinical independence and professional integrity from the influence of third parties.
Doctors are highly trained health professionals. They are trained to think independently and to make decisions in the best interests of the patient.