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How Others See Us - More on Med School Conflict of Interest Events

Margaret Soltan chips in on the Strib article about med school reaction to the conflict of interest situation.


Even though Furcht — himself a serious violator of conflict of interest policies — for some reason chairs the university’s conflict of interest review committee, he refused a request from the Star Tribune for information about his relationships with industry. Many of his own committee members complied with the request, but Furcht, already outed as a violator, and the subject therefore of a great deal of press interest, continues his foolish, high-handed ways.

Having been silly enough to appoint the tainted Furcht - a crony - head of the committee, the medical school dean must now deal with far more publicity about what the committee’s up to than she’d expected. And even if, under the glare of publicity, the committee agrees to publicize this and that conflict, it won’t go far enough.

“The idea is that as long as these relationships are made public, the problem is solved,? said Carl Elliott, a professor at the U’s Center for Bioethics, who is not a member of the task force. “How much good does that really do? Is a public bribe really all that much better than a secret bribe?? He said Furcht should be removed from the committee.

The clueless, insular way in which Furcht was appointed, and Furcht’s continued mindless arrogance, tells you all you need to know about the culture out of which endemic conflict of interest emerges in universities all over the country.

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