I was among 100 researchers, clinicians and ethicists who this week signed and sent a letter (pdf file) to the National Institutes of Health asking them to fund research on medical ethics, conflicts of interest and industry influence on prescribing behavior.
The effort was led by Dr. Adriane Fugh-Berman, who leads the PharmedOut (http://pharmedout.org) project at Georgetown University Medical Center to educate physicians about industry influence on prescribing.
The letter states:
"Between bench and bedside lies a path treacherous with ethical quandaries. NIH is the best place to launch and support a scientifically rigorous inquiry into the state of research ethics, industry-academic relationships, and the effect of these relationships on human health. There is currently no identifiable mechanism through which NIH would fund this research.
Your leadership regarding the importance of this issue as one the NIH needs to direct resources towards is essential. We hope to discuss these issues in a face-to-face meeting."
An article on TheScientist.com contains more details.