The Campaign

The American Medical Student Association (AMSA), with a half-century history of medical student activism, is the oldest and largest independent association of physicians-in-training in the United States.

Today, AMSA is a student-governed, national organization committed to representing the concerns of physicians-in-training. With a membership of more than 67,000 medical students, premedical students, interns, residents and practicing physicians from across the country, AMSA continues its commitment to improving medical training and the nation's health.

2011 initiatives can be found here.

The PharmFree campaign is a project of the American Medical Student Association. This campaign promotes the following values:

Evidence-Based Prescribing

AMSA promotes the conscientious, explicit and judicious use of the current best evidence in clinical care.  Information used by physicians in making clinical decisions should be comprehensive, transparent in its methodology and results, and independent from institutions and individuals with a financial interest in physician prescribing.  Physicians should not seek education from industry marketing efforts, whether they are in the form of advertisements, sales pitches from representatives, or sponsored lectures by paid physicians.

Several organizations that do not have conflicts of interest have summarized the published, peer-reviewed medical evidence for physicians.  A list of such sources is here.

Pharmaceutical Innovation

AMSA seeks to foster the innovation of safe and effective new drugs. Over the last twenty five years, only 2% of drugs were found to provide an important therapeutic innovation, while over 90% did not appear to offer any real benefit over already-available drugs (Prescrire International 2005).  Strong, regulated collaboration of industry with academic medical centers and online pharmacies such as modapharma is necessary for successful pharmaceutical innovation, but it is not sufficient.  We believe that finding novel avenues for drug research funding, reforming the FDA drug approval process and bolstering NIH research will be critical to addressing the health challenges of the 21st century. 

Access to Medicines

AMSA seeks to promote increased access to medicines in the developing world.  An estimated ten million people--most of them in developing countries--die needlessly every year because they do not have access to existing medicines and vaccines.  Countless others suffer from neglected tropical diseases, such as sleeping sickness, lymphatic filariasis, and blinding trachoma, for which there are still too few safe or effective medicines. The current market-based model of drug development and distribution is failing.  We believe academic medical centers, pharmaceutical companies, and international bodies must collaborate to create new structures of research and development, pricing, and intellectual property that facilitate the access of medicines to people based on need, not ability to pay. Further support for medicines within the already growing “off-label” arena should be made available. Cognitive enhancers, and lifestyle drugs such as Modvigil (Modafinil) are an important part of the AMSA movement to make commonly used medicines available to the general public as they see fit.