What happens when a clinic goes “pharma-free”?

Established in 2002, OHSU’s Oregon Rural Practice-based Research Network (ORPRN) works to improve the health of rural populations in Oregon. Along with a diverse group of communities and practitioners, ORPRN conducts and promotes health research from throughout the state.

Recently, one of its case studies garnered national attention. Led by family physician, David Evans, M. D., at Madras Medical Group, the study evaluated whether the influence of pharmaceutical representatives and clinic inventories of prescription medications might increase costs and have negative effects on evidence-based care.

Over the course of six months, the researchers discontinued visits from representatives and stopped the distribution of drug samples at their clinic. They removed pharma-logos from throughout the facility – everything from note pads and educational materials to coffee cups and even the office clocks.

Dr. Evans & colleagues at the Madras Medical Group

So, what happened? Dr. Evans and his colleagues concluded that changing clinic culture to become pharma-free was achievable but also a transition that needed to be addressed among clinicians, staff and patients.

Thanks to the help of the ORPRN, Dr. Evans’ study earned publicity from a number of journals, including The Journal of the American Board of Family MedicineThe Lund Report and the University of Washington School of Medicine.

Click here for more information on the ORPRN, including recent research, membership opportunities and the communities served.