Conflict of Interest Policies: An Opportunity for the Medical Profession to Take the Lead
Academic Medicine 2010 January; 85(1): 9-11
Articles in this issue by Steinman and colleagues, Dubovsky and colleagues, and Camilleri and Parke illustrate how academic health centers (AHCs) and professional membership organizations can take the lead in improving conflict of interest (COI) policies. In this commentary, the strategies explored in these articles are examined in the context of the Institute of Medicine (IOM) report, "Conflict of Interest in Medical Research, Education, and Practice," issued in April 2009. The author applauds the empirical research, educational efforts, and guidelines development described in the three articles and relates them to specific recommendations in the IOM report. Important issues that deserve attention are making disclosure of financial relationships more specific and less burdensome, developing a model for continuing medical education that provides high-quality education without undue influence, addressing institutional conflicts of interest, and honoring the educational mission. The author concludes that these articles show that physician leaders, AHCs, and professional societies can continue to take the lead by developing, implementing, enforcing, evaluating, and improving thoughtful and effective COI policies.
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