Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Institute of Medicine releases COI report

From the Science News article:
1) Congress should require that pharmaceutical, device and biotechnology companies report on some public website all payments they make to physicians, researchers and medical organizations. "Such a public record would deter inappropriate relationships,” Lo said, and help medical institutions, publishers and others verify that physicians and researchers who do work for them have disclosed all real or potential conflicts of interest.

2) Medical centers and other research institutions should establish a policy prohibiting human trials if the researchers "have a significant financial interest in an existing or potential product or a company that could be affected by the outcome of the research." Any exceptions should be made public and allowed if only if no unbiased researchers can be found. And even then, the report said, a mechanism must exist to make data on the potential bias publicly available.

3) Research centers and hospitals should prohibit faculty, students, residents and medical fellows from: accepting “items of material value” from industry; giving presentations or writing papers where content is controlled by industry or “written by someone who is not identified as an author or who is not properly acknowledged;” consulting without a written contract and receiving payment at “fair market value" for services; using or distributing drug samples provided by industry “except in specified situations for patients who lack financial access to medications.”

4) Most state licensing boards, medical-specialty boards and hospitals require that physicians commit to lifelong learning. Indeed, participation in continuing medical education, or CME, courses can be essential for a doctor to remain licensed or certified. The new report finds that industry provides roughly 25 percent of the funding to run CME courses offered by professional societies, more than half of the costs to medical schools for CME courses and almost 75 percent of the costs incurred by outside commercial groups who offer CME courses. That’s got to change, the IOM panel argues. Indeed, Lo says, “the goal would be to have a [CME] system . . . that is free of industry or industry influence.”
Click here to access the Science News article. Click here to access the free Executive Summary of the IOM report.

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