UCSD medical schools receive ‘B’

The University of California San Diego has received a “B’’ on a national score card, measuring how well medical schools insulate their students, faculty and doctors from the money, free product samples and other gifts offered by drug and medical-device companies, it was reported Wednesday.

The B-grade, along with those of 148 other medical schools, was released Tuesday by the American Medical Student Association of Reston, Va., and the Pew Prescription Project of Boston, a branch of the Pew Charitable Trusts, The San Diego Union-Tribune reported.

Opponents of close relationships between health providers and drug and medical-device companies argue that they create undue pressures that could negatively influence the way physicians treat their patients.

Three other medical schools in California - UCLA, UC Davis and UC San Francisco - were among nine schools nationwide to receive “A’'s on the score card for having the most stringent standards when it comes to accepting gifts, according to the Union-Tribune.

The “B’’ given to UC San Diego surprised Kathleen Naughton, director of compliance for UC San Diego’s Health Sciences, which includes the medical school.

“I’m a little bit disappointed,’' Naughton told the Union-Tribune. “I proudly state that our policies are consistent with the other University of California medical centers, and I think we’re doing a great job.’'

However, one reason UC San Diego scored lower than other UC campuses was because the local medical school forbids vendors from giving gifts and free meals on campus but does not prohibit such activity off-campus, like other UCs do.

Naughton told the Union-Tribune she questions the ability of other schools to police such gifting when it occurs off-campus.