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Industry-Sponsored Medical Education — In the Quest for Professional Integrity and Legal Certainty

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Industry-sponsored medical education is a much disputed issue. So far, there has been no regulatory framework which provides clear and definite rules as to whether and under what circumstances the sponsorship of medical education is acceptable. State regulation does not exist, or confines itself to a very general principle. Professional regulation, even though applied frequently, is rather vague and indefinite, raising the general question as to whether self-regulation is the right approach at all. Certainly, self-regulation by industry cannot and should not replace other regulatory approaches. Ultimately, advertising law in general and the European Directive 2001/83/EC specifically, might be a good starting point in providing legal certainty and ensuring the independence of medical education. Swiss advertising law illustrates how the principles of the European Directive could be implemented clearly and unambiguously.


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