A joint treaty was signed recently between the Israel Medical Association and the representative organizations of all pharmaceutical companies operating in Israel. The signing ceremony, that took place at the Ministry of Health, was the culmination of a three-year process led by the IMA Ethics Bureau with the aim of formulating the ethical rules underlying the professional relationship between doctors and pharmaceutical companies. This vital relationship is continuously exposed to public criticism, as manifested in the frequent publicity in the media and in court rulings. Our basic assumption is that there is a need to formalize the mutual relationship through ethical rules and that the public will welcome a document perceived to be a genuine declaration of intent of both parties to enforce its rules.
The treaty was formulated following the enormous changes that took place in recent years in the relationship between doctors and the pharmaceutical industry. In the new professional culture, doctors are frequently not only healers but also economic partners, overt or covert, of pharmaceutical companies, and are exposed to the influence of their representatives.
It is our duty to protect the patient’s health and safety in this new work environment in which extraneous considerations may overshadow scientific truth and interfere with medical decisions in the name of foreign interests. The purpose of the treaty is to address this issue.
The treaty, to which all health funds operating in Israel are signatories, is a unique document that delineates what is permitted and prohibited in the relations with pharmaceutical companies. We believe that the doctors in Israel will find it worthy and appropriate and will conduct themselves according to the rules specified in the document.
Dr. Yoram Blachar, IMA Chairperson
Prof. Avinoam Reches, Chairperson, Ethics Bureau