New guidelines to help physicians avoid accepting impropergifts from industry could change some long-standing practicesof the pharmaceutical industry.

The guidelines were issued by the American MedicalAssociation's Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs and werepublished in today's issue of the Journal of the AmericanMedical Association (JAMA).

Their central theme is that gifts "should primarily entail abenefit to patients and should not be of substantial value." Thatwould allow such gifts as pens and diaries that relate to thedoctor's work, and textbooks and meals in connection with aneducational function. Companies can fund medical conferencesand educational seminars, but they must use a sponsor tocoordinate funding and the program. Financial support for suchmeetings must also be disclosed.

Genentech Inc. of South San Francisco, Calif., sponsors symposiawith strong educational emphasis in which a third partyarranges the entire program, including the agenda andspeakers, said company spokeswoman Susan Rogers.

A Genentech-sponsored symposium prior to last year's meetingof the American College of Cardiology in New Orleans featuredthe GISSI-2 clinical trial results, which reported thatGenentech's t-PA was no better than streptokinase in treatingheart attacks.

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