AMA medical ethics II stipulates gifts to Physicians from any industry creates conditions that carry the risk of subtly biasing—or being perceived to bias—professional judgment in the care of patients.
To preserve the trust that is fundamental to the patient-physician relationship and public confidence in the profession, physicians should:
(a) Decline cash gifts in any amount from an entity that has a direct interest in physicians’ treatment recommendations.
(b) Decline any gifts for which reciprocity is expected or implied.
(c) Accept an in-kind gift for the physician’s practice only when the gift will directly benefit patients, including patient education, and is of minimal value
(d) Academic institutions and residency and fellowship programs may accept special funding on behalf of trainees to support medical students’, residents’, and fellows’ participation in professional meetings, including educational meetings, provided:
The program identifies recipients based on independent institutional criteria
Funds are distributed to recipients without specific attribution to sponsors.
Gifts from Patients
Small gifts from patients of modest value are acceptable on the part of the physician, if there is no expectation of a different form of therapy, or a higher level of care.
Cakes and cookies for Christmas, a birthday card or balloon on a birthday, or other tokens of gratitude are acceptable.