Doctor groups set new policy to curb industry sway

Apr 21, 2010 By MARILYNN MARCHIONE , AP Medical Writer

(AP) -- No more letting industry help pay for developing medical guidelines. Restrictions on consulting deals. And no more pens with drug company names or other swag at conferences.

These are part of a new ethics code that dozens of leading medical groups announced Wednesday, aimed at limiting the influence that drug and device makers have over patient care.

It's the most sweeping move ever taken by the Council of Medical Specialty Societies to curb - a growing concern as private industry bankrolls a greater share of medical research.

The council includes 32 medical societies with 650,000 members, from neurologists and obstetricians to family doctors and pediatricians. They include the American College of Physicians, the American College of Cardiology and the American Society of Clinical Oncology, the largest group of cancer specialists in the world.

"We take very seriously the trust that is placed in us by physicians and patients to be authoritative, independent voices in cancer care," ASCO's chief, Dr. Allen Lichter, said in a statement. He led the panel that developed the code.

One of its most controversial rules: requiring top leaders of any medical society and top editors of its journals to have no consulting deals or to industry.

"When a physician stands up to represent medicine and his or her specialty, there shouldn't be any confusion as to who they're speaking for," said Dr. Norman Kahn, the council's chief executive and a former rural medicine doctor from California.

The code requires groups to:

-Publicly post any industry support the group receives, such as money for continuing education sessions.

-Decline industry funding for developing medical practice guidelines, such as who should get a drug, a test or treatment. Require that most members of a guidelines panel be free of financial ties to industry.

-Disclose any financial ties that leaders and board members have with companies.

-Ban company or product names and logos from pens, bags and other giveaways at conferences.

Fourteen groups in the council, including ASCO and the College of Physicians, have already adopted the code. Most of the rest plan to by the end of the year.

Last year, leading medical journals agreed to use a uniform conflict-of-interest disclosure form for researchers publishing in their journals. The new ethics code the council is adopting should make financial ties more transparent to patients and breed professionalism and trust in doctors, Kahn said.

Explore further: Were clinical trial practices in East Germany questionable?

More information: Ethics code: www.cmss.org/codeforinteractions.aspx

5 /5 (1 vote)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Top US psychiatrist calls for ethics cleanup

Mar 23, 2010

(AP) -- American psychiatrists need to break away from a "culture of influence" created by their financial dealings with the drug industry, the head of the National Institute of Mental Health said in a leading medical journal.

AMA seeks probe of journal editors' actions

Mar 30, 2009

(AP) -- The American Medical Association is seeking an investigation of claims that editors of its leading medical journal threatened a whistleblower who pointed out a researcher's conflict of interest.

Recommended for you

Were clinical trial practices in East Germany questionable?

Oct 23, 2014

Clinical trials carried out in the former East Germany in the second half of the 20th century were not always with the full knowledge or understanding of participants with some questionable practices taking place, according ...

Schumacher's doctor sees progress after injury

Oct 23, 2014

A French physician who treated Michael Schumacher for nearly six months after the Formula One champion struck his head in a ski accident says he is no longer in a coma and predicted a possible recovery within three years.

User comments : 0