§ Mr. Maclean
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he has a policy on the inducements drug companies may reasonably offer to general practitioners to prescribe a particular product.
§ Mr. Kenneth Clarke
We support the advice given by the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry in its code of practice. This states inter alia that gifts in the form of articles designed as promotional aids, whether related to a particular product or of general utility, may be distributed to members of the medical profession provided the gift is inexpensive and relevant to the practice of medicine.
This is reinforced in the General Medical Council's booklet "Professional Conduct and Discipline: Fitness to Practice" which advises that doctors should avoid accepting any pecuniary or material inducement which might compromise, or be regarded by others as likely to compromise the independent exercise of their professional judgment in prescribing matters.498W