Below are a number of ideas for planning your PharmFree event. Depending on your chapter's resources and enthusiasm, you may choose only to focus on a single project, or you may want to organize several projects to involve your entire medical community. Please feel free to contact us - we are here to help coordinate your activities!
This project list is just to get you started. We have taken the time to select a number of ideas that would be appropriate for all levels of medical students. We hope that through good planning, you can reach out to those upper class AMSA members that you may have lost touch with since they began their clerkships.
The PharmFree PowerPoint Presentations
AMSA's ready-made powerpoints will help you educate your fellow students about the Pharmaceutical Industry, its marketing practices, and how you can get unbiased drug information.
- PharmFree Campaign: Revitalizing Professionalism (114KB)
- Revitalizing Professionalism. AMSA’s PharmFree Initiative (555KB)
Hold a Lunch lecture
- How to Plan a Lunch Lecture (Word Document)
Pharmaceutical Issue Forum
This is a great way to introduce the issue! Hold this issue forum with a dozen or more interested participants and become experts on the Pharmaceutical Industry. You can even hold this forum days or weeks before PharmFree Day to get people excited about your events.
Show a video
Another engaging outreach method. Distribute background material in advance if possible (for example "Drug Pushers".) Serve lunch if possible. Invite a faculty member to add a clinical perspective on the video (especially the Aprotintin or Vioxx videos) or simply facilitate a discussion.
- Prescribing Evidence-based Therapies videos (PERx). There are 4 segments, each about 25 minutes; we recommend showing either of these two segments:
- Big Pharma, Big Bucks (45 minutes in 7 segments)
Part 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qc5MPhOfW6M
Part 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lKTeFOVmLm0
Part 3: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FCDOb6-s7Jo
Part 4: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tdLJtxDBERA
Part 5: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2OWtdOwLn-k
Part 6: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ADwuLxVsscU
Part 7: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Emn_UwnpRPY&NR=1
- 60 Minutes spot on trasylol (Aprotinin) - 13 minutes:
A talk from a local academic active in the PharmFree movement
A talk from a faculty member on one of the recent pharma controversies.
- A nephrologist could discuss EPO
- A nephrologist, GI doc, cardiologist, or general medicine physician coudl discuss Vioxx
A talk from an outside PharmFree speaker in your region.
- Shahram Ahari, San Francisco, shahramahari(at)shahramahari(dot)com
- Allan Coukell, Prescription Project, Boston, MA, acoukell(at)communitycatalyst(dot)org
- Dr. Gurkirpal Singh, Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA
- Dr. Adam Urato, Boston, MA
- Gene Carbona, The Medical Letter, info(at)medicalletter(dot)org
- Dr. Adriane Fugh-Berman, Washington, DC, ajf29(at)georgetown(dot)edu
- Shannon Brownlee, Washington, DC, brownlee(at)newamerica(dot)net
- Dr. Bob Goodman, Founder of No Free Lunch (www.nofreelunch.org), NYC
- Dr. Jerry Avorn, Boston, MA
- Dr. Gordy Schiff, Boston, gschiff(at)partners(dot)org
- AMSA National Leaders, amsapharmfree(at)gmail(dot)com
Host a Debate
Find two practicing physicians with opposing views on Pharmaceutical gifts and moderate an ethics debate.
Convene a panel
Don't forget to leave time for discussion / questions from the audience
- Panel of patients who have grown disturbed by what they've seen
- Panel on "How to Say No" to pharma food/gifts and how to talk to your colleagues/superiors about this issue when there is pressure to conform. (Could consist of one MS-1 or MS-2, one MS-3 or MS-4, one resident, and one attending.)
Hold an Ethics Discussion
Choose an article and distribute it to your classmates (samples are below). Set a time to meet and discuss.
- "Does that One Slice of Pizza Matter?" - An overview of the literature on the effect of promotions to physicians on patient care. Contains references (PDF)
- The ethics of pharmaceutical industry relationships with medical students
- Characteristics of general practitioners who frequently see drug industry representatives: national cross sectional study - a study elucidating the changes in prescribing practices.
- Will Lower Drug Prices Jeopardize Drug Research? A Policy Fact Sheet
- Impact of Direct-to-Consumer Advertising on Prescription Drug Spending
Support Strong Policies if in Place
If your school has a strong conflict-of-interest policy, invite the chair of the committee (or other committee member) to discuss the rationale behind the policy, what it says, and how it affects students.
Start a PR Campaign (See Also: How to Run a Campaign)
Get together with some classmates and hang catchy posters or pass out flyers to your classmates.
Recycle Those Journal Ads
Collect all of the ads from a single journal from the last six months from all of your classmates, and send them back to the Editors on December 8 with a statement asking them to limit biased advertising in their journal. Here are sample letters to the Editors of:
Pen Amnesty/Paraphernalia Purge
This one's easy! Have everyone look through their bags, white coats, and lockers. Collect all of the Pharm paraphernalia and use the AMSA "PharmFree Liberated" sticker template to cover up pharm logos on pens.
Liberate Your Hospital or Clinic
Prepare a team of 3-5 students. Go through your hospital or clinic floor-by-floor looking for Pharm logos on pens, instruments, gadgets, and notepads. Don't forget to check nursing stations, lounges for residents & physicians, conference rooms, and libraries (don't enter patients' rooms!). Use the "PharmFree Liberated" sticker labels to cover all of the pharm logos you find. Replace pens with PharmFree pens. For every area that you liberate, leave a Liberation postcard.
Set up tables at lunch time where students can sit and give out PharmFree educational material (e.g., fact sheet in PharmFree Week Packet), PharmFree stickers to cover brand names on pens, PharmFree pens, sign PharmFree pledges, and talk with AMSA members about the issue.
To fund your event apply for a PharmFree Micro-Grant. Funds may still be available for your November 2011 National PharmFree Week event! Apply today! http://www.amsa.org/AMSA/Homepage/Events/NPFW/NPFW_Grant.aspx
Publicize! Whatever you choose to do, try to get local media coverage.
- Write a press release or media alert. Sample Press Release for Your Local Event
Other helpful guidance at http://www.amsa.org/grassroots/activism.cfm
- Call and send this out to your school paper and local media outlets, which you can find here: http://www.capwiz.com/ams/dbq/media/
- Consult with the AMSA Public Relations Director, who can give you feedback on your press release and advise on how to approach and respond to the media.