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COI Policy Fiasco Coninues at the University of Minnesota


Rowing in tar...

Simply put the U needs a conflict of interest policy for the Medical School and the Academic Health Center immediately. These organizations are the ones who've put the U in a bad odor. The one policy fits all business is effectively being used as an excuse to put off needed reform. The fact that this matter has dragged on for years is a sad commentary on the incompetence of the University of Minnesota administration, particularly in the medical school and the Academic Health Center.

The Strib has an article about this continuing agony:

"U draws fire over plan to regulate business ties"

Featured Comment:

The Carnival Midway at the University

After attending a so-called CME put on by the psychiatry dept at the 'U' and sponsored by pharmaceutical companies I would like to believe ... read more that my doctor has read all the new and pertinent 'peer' reviewed medical literature as his first resource in trying new treatments.

As a realist, I've come to question the reliability of any medical research done at the 'U' and the utter corruption of psychiatric research in particular.

The entire CME was nothing but a midway carnival atmosphere with the so called researchers from the psychiatry dept. barking for THEIR paid sponsors. It was embarrassing. The entire medical school is built around 'show me the money' we don't care anymore about "first do no harm"

From the article:

Recently, two nationally known bioethicists in the university's Center for Bioethics, Steve Miles and Carl Elliott, went public with their concerns. The draft "is an incomplete and flawed document that will do little to regulate the kinds of misconduct and concerns that have brought this university and many other United States universities before congressional inquiries and harsh media scrutiny," Miles wrote.

The draft -- which likely will change after the comment period -- places new restrictions on reporting financial relationships between faculty and staff and business interests. It also bans gifts, ghostwritten research papers and product endorsements. A final draft is expected in a few months. Because the draft is an administrative policy, it will not need the Board of Regents' approval.

The U is not alone in considering a new policy -- at least 35 universities and colleges nationwide, particularly medical schools, are crafting new rules to guide these relationships, according to the American Medical Student Association.

Elliott, a professor in the U's Center for Bioethics, wrote, "The biggest problem with this document is that it will do little if anything to fix the conflict-of-interest problems which have embarrassed the university." For example, he questioned why no cap was placed on the amount of money faculty and staff can receive from industry. Further, he said, the policy does not address conflict of interest related to continuing medical education -- doctor training that often is paid for by drug and medical device companies.

The current draft calls for an automatic review once an individual's compensation from industry tops $100,000. But Miles said income from each business entity should be reported. The current draft makes it possible for businesses "to slice its compensation to faculty in small pieces that understate the conflict of interest."

He also pointed out that the ban on gifts and entertainment fails to include free drug samples distributed by pharmaceutical companies. There is increasing recognition nationally that these samples are a marketing tool that promotes more rapid introduction of costly drugs, he said.

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