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Drug industry gifts OK with some physicians

Most physicians and doctors-in-training still have a positive attitude toward marketing-oriented activities by pharmaceutical companies and device manufacturers, even though some institutions and national specialty societies have adopted policies that limit or ban such practices, a new study shows. For example, 72% of 590 surveyed doctors and medical students said sponsored lunches were appropriate, according to the study in the June Archives of Surgery. Nearly 60% said samples improve care for their patients, and 71% said pharmaceutical and device company money is useful for funding residency programs. There were limits, though. About three in four respondents believed gifts valuing more than $50 were unacceptable. Nearly 90% thought vacations were inappropriate. Study authors in 2008 polled faculty and medical trainees at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine consortium, which includes 11 hospitals throughout New York City ( Mount Sinai ...

San Francisco plan for uninsured withstands final legal challenge

U.S. Supreme Court justices declined to consider a legal challenge to Healthy San Francisco, a health access program that has enrolled tens of thousands of uninsured city residents. The June 28 decision leaves in place appeals court rulings upholding the employer mandate at the heart of the program. Healthy San Francisco, which offers primary and preventive care to the uninsured, requires businesses either to offer health coverage for their workers or contribute to a city fund that helps pay for the program. It also means the end for a lawsuit against the program by the Golden Gate Restaurant Assn. The organization had argued that the employer mandate violated the Employee Retirement Income Security Act by imposing the type of patchwork local coverage directives that ERISA was designed to prohibit. San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom said the high court's decision not to hear the case ensures that the city will continue providing care to uninsured residents who otherwise would go ...

Flu vaccine recommendations for young children updated

Young children who were not immunized against the 2009 influenza A(H1N1) will need two doses of the 2010-11 seasonal flu vaccine to assure they are protected, according to the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. The seasonal vaccine will include a pandemic 2009 H1N1 virus, as well as an A/Perth/16/2009 (H3N2)-like virus and a B/Brisbane/60/2008-like virus. * Links * See related content The ACIP, a 15-member committee that advises the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on vaccine issues, released the new recommendation for children age 6 months to 8 years on June 24 at a meeting in Atlanta. Some committee members raised concerns that the new recommendation would complicate influenza vaccination for physicians. As an example, they asked what doctors should do if parents can't remember whether their child received at least one dose of the H1N1 vaccine. In such instances, the committee recommends administering two doses of the 2010-11 seasonal flu ...