Friday, June 27, 2008

Big Bad Pharma?

About 74% of Americans think so, according to a recent Harris Interactive Poll. Click here to access the survey results.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Grassley news release regarding conflicted NIH research grant recipients

From the news release:
Senator Chuck Grassley is asking members of Congress who hold leadership positions on the appropriations committee to join his effort to hold the National Institutes of Health accountable for monitoring conflicts of interest in government sponsored medical research.

“There’s mounting evidence that the NIH hasn’t done due diligence in keeping track of industry payments to medical researchers,” Grassley said. “With the objectivity and integrity of research at stake, along with public trust in the system, there are plenty of reasons for Congress to step in to establish penalties for grantees who fail to report financial conflicts and to bring transparency to taxpayer funded medical research.”

Current federal law requires the NIH to monitor financial conflicts of interest by requiring the institutions who receive grants who receive grants to collect and manage information on the money that their researchers receive from drug and device makers and others in industry. Recent reports have revealed that this tracking is not happening in individual cases. In addition, the Inspector General for the Department of Health and Human Services reported in January that the NIH does not adequately monitor its extramural grants for conflicts of interest.
Click here to access.

Friday, June 20, 2008

A girl and her dog

From Britain's Got Talent:

AAMC news release on industry support of CME!

From the news release:
The AAMC (Association of American Medical Colleges) today urged all medical schools and teaching hospitals to adopt policies that prohibit drug industry gifts and services to physicians, faculty, residents, and students, and to limit industry support of continuing medical education activities. The recommendations were part of a new AAMC report, "Industry Funding of Medical Education," unanimously approved by the association's Executive Council. In adopting the report, the AAMC's leadership urged all association members to implement policies and procedures, consistent with the report's guidelines, by July 1, 2009.

The report was the result of a 14-month effort by an AAMC task force, established in 2006, to examine the benefits and pitfalls associated with industry funding of medical education, and to develop principles, recommendations, and guidelines to help medical schools and teaching hospitals better manage their relationships with industry. The panel was chaired by retired Merck Chairman and CEO Roy Vagelos, M.D., and the vice chair was William Danforth, M.D., former chancellor of Washington University. The task force membership included institutional leaders, faculty, residents, students, CEOs from the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and medical device industries, ethicists, and public representatives.

"Interactions between industry and academic medicine are vital to public health," said AAMC President and CEO Darrell G. Kirch, M.D. "But they must be principled partnerships effectively managed to sustain public trust in both partners' commitment to patient welfare and the improvement of health care. The recommendations outlined in this report provide essential guidance for how medical schools and teaching hospitals can achieve this important goal."

Click here to access.


Giovanni A. Fava, Professor of Clinical Psychology at the University of Bologna, Itay, makes some strong statements in an opinion piece "Should the drug industry work with key opinion leaders? No" just published in the British Medical Journal.

It's definitely worth a read, as is "Should the drug industry work with key opinion leaders. Yes" written by Charlies Buckwell, CEO, Complete Medical Group.

Click here to access (sub. req.).

Doctor Radio?

Yep! Sirius Satellite Radio has launched "Doctor Radio" which features real doctors responding to callers' questions. Click here to find out more.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Epocrates and Joslin Launch Mobile Resource Center on Diabetes

From the Epocrates press release:
Clinicians across America now have access to the knowledge and opinions of a renowned diabetes expert, thanks to a collaboration between Joslin Diabetes Center, the world’s largest diabetes clinic, research center and provider of diabetes education, and Epocrates Inc., a leading developer of handheld clinical applications.

Richard Jackson, M.D., Director of Medical Affairs, Healthcare Services, Joslin Diabetes Center, is the sole contributing editor for Epocrates' new diabetes mobile resource center. This convenient handheld resource is designed to provide an intelligent, editorially independent summary of the most important clinical news and research in diabetes.

With diabetes rates on the rise among Americans and the influx of medical news and developments, clinicians need a trusted source to help them sort through the clutter and keep current. The mobile resource center’s content, including scientific articles, research findings and breaking news, is selected and commented upon by Dr. Jackson to support clinicians' care of patients with diabetes and its related conditions.

Click here to read the entire press release.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Back to the drawing board for CEJA Report 1?

According to the Policy and Medicine blog, the AMA House of Delegates rejected CEJA Report 1 in its current form. However, don't expect this issue to just fade away. Click here to access the Policy and Medicine blog posting.

Survey results on patient use of physician rating websites

From the article:
A Harris Interactive poll commissioned by the California HealthCare Foundation found that although more than 80% of the state's adults turn to the Internet for health-related information, less than one-quarter have looked at physician ratings sites. Only 2% of those surveyed made a change in physicians based on information posted on a rating site.
Click here to access the article.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Fasten your seatbelts!

Lay your eyes on the new ACCME policy announcements and calls for comments. Click here to access. And check out the ACCME Statement in response to IOM. Click here to access.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

SACME survey results on proposed CEJA policy

SACME recently surveyed its members regarding CEJA's proposed policy which would pretty much ban industry support of "CME" although industry could still train physicians on new equipment or new devices.

Per SACME President Melinda Steele the survey results of 56 SACME members on the proposed policy "...should in no way be construed as an official position or opinion of SACME." The results of two survey questions:
The CEJA report accurately represents the current environment in academic CME:

Strongly Disagree 33.9%
Disagree 23.2%
Neutral 8.9%
Agree 23.2%
Strongly Agree 10%

The CEJA report should be referred back to CEJA for further action:

Strongly Disagree 10.7%
Disagree 7.1%
Neutral 3.6%
Agree 28.6%
Strongly Agree 50.0%
If the entire survey results get posted, I'll provide the url.

Doctor Nurse?

From the article:

Starting this fall, doctor of nursing practice graduates will be able to take a certification test that proponents say will set a national standard for DNPs and add to the profession's credibility.

The voluntary test, being created by the National Board of Medical Examiners, is based on the medical licensing exam. It will be offered at a time of growing momentum in the DNP movement: About 200 nursing schools are expected to offer the two-year DNP degree by 2015 -- more than double the programs available today.

Click here to access the article.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Psych researchers under scrutiny

From the New York Times article:
A world-renowned Harvard child psychiatrist whose work has helped fuel an explosion in the use of powerful antipsychotic medicines in children earned at least $1.6 million in consulting fees from drug makers from 2000 to 2007 but for years did not report much of this income to university officials, according to information given Congressional investigators.

By failing to report income, the psychiatrist, Dr. Joseph Biederman, and a colleague in the psychiatry department at Harvard Medical School, Dr. Timothy E. Wilens, may have violated federal and university research rules designed to police potential conflicts of interest, according to Senator Charles E. Grassley, Republican of Iowa. Some of their research is financed by government grants.
Click here to access the article.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Supreme Court justices divest their pharma stock

From the AP article:
Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito, whose investments forced them to sit out cases before the Supreme Court, have reduced their stock holdings, their latest financial disclosures show.
Click here to access. Hat Tip to Pharmalot.

Friday, June 06, 2008

A little dimmer or a little brighter?

You decide. From the BMJ article:
The US drug industry has persuaded key Congressional legislators to water down proposed legislation that would require detailed public disclosure of payments and gifts to doctors.
Click here to access.

More on Pri-Med survey of physicians regarding CEJA Report 1

The full results of the poll can be found on Pri-Med's website at Click here to access.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

RWJF announces $300 million commitment to improve quality of health care in U.S.

From the RWJF news release:

With increasing reports of dangerous deficiencies in the quality of health care, the nation’s largest health care foundation today announced a $300-million commitment to improve quality in regions across the United States.

Underscoring the scope of the problem, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) also released new research showing that the quality of care people receive can vary dramatically depending on their race and where they live.

The $300-million commitment to improve health care in 14 communities, that together cover 11 percent of the U.S. population, is the largest effort of its kind ever undertaken by a U.S. philanthropy. Known as Aligning Forces for Quality, the community-focused program will lift the overall quality of health care, reduce racial and ethnic disparities and provide models for national reform.

“Across America, there are serious gaps between the health care that people should receive and the care they actually receive,” said Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, M.D., M.B.A., president and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Click here to access the news release.

Physicians Disagree with Proposed Ban of Commercial Support of CME

Pri-Med recently conducted a survey of 268 physicians regarding the CEJA proposed policy; some of the results:
1. The CEJA of the AMA published a report last week that stated industry-support of CME should end. Do you agree, disagree or have no opinion?

• 92% of the doctors disagree with the ban

2. If industry funding of CME ends, how would this impact the ways in which you obtain CME?

On the whole, physicians state three primary ways it will impact them:

• It will be more expensive to receive continuing medical education, which makes it more difficult for physicians to stay up-to-date
• The quality of CME will decrease
• Fewer opportunities available will hurt patient care
A hat tip to Marissa Seligman, Ph.D., of Pri-Med for these results. (To the best of my knowledge, the survey results are not yet posted online, when and if they are I will certainly repost with the link.)

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

AMSA PharmFree Scorecard 2008

The American Medical Student Association (AMSA) has posted their 2008 PharmFree Scorecard. Click here to check it out (encourage y'all to read the methodology information before freaking out).