Conflict-of-interest policies for med schools a mixed bag

While the number of medical schools attempting to change their conflict-of-interest policy for the better has more than doubled in the last year, more than half of all medical schools' policies are still either ineffective or non-existent according to a story on the Wall Street Journal's Health Blog. Forty-five schools earned grades of "A" or "B" on their conflict-of-interest policies from ratings compiled by the American Medical Student Association and the Pew Prescription Project, compared to just 21 schools last year.

Although Pew Prescription Project Director Allan Coukell thinks a lot of schools simply wanted to do the right thing, he also believes that the efforts of outsiders like Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA) should also be given a lot of credit. Grassley has investigated several medical schools for conflict-of-interest violations, most notably Harvard Medical School and Stanford.

"We're seeing genuine progress and that's heartening," Coukell said. "On the other hand, there are a lot of schools that are yet to look seriously at these issues."

To learn more:
- here's the Wall Street Journal's Health Blog article
- here's the AMSA's scorecard

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