"Med Schools Flunk at Keeping Faculty Off Pharma Speaking Circuit"

Hey, the folks at ProPublica do true public service media, funded philanthropically and according to a strict code of ethics. The code is a really big deal; to me, it's a commitment to traditional journalism values like fact checking and the separation of reporting and advertising. (Yes, I'm no journalist, but this I get.) (yes, I'm repeating myself from earlier posts, since this is important.

Med Schools Flunk at Keeping Faculty Off Pharma Speaking Circuit is a big story, one that I've heard from the folks at Consumer Reports as well. The deal is that sometimes doctors are paid for giving promotional talks for particular drugs and so on:

Conflict-of-interest policies have become increasingly important as academic medical centers worry that promotional talks undermine the credibility of not only the physicians giving them, but also of the institutions they represent.

Yet when it comes to enforcing the policies, universities have allowed permissive interpretations and relied on the honor system. ProPublica's review shows that approach isn't working: Many physicians are in apparent violation, and ignorance or confusion about the rules is widespread.

As a result, some faculty physicians stay on the industry lecture circuit, where they can net tens of thousands in additional income.

Disclosure: I'm on the board of Consumer Reports/Consumers Union.

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