Doctor group challenges limits on pharma-physician relationships

Lately, rules limiting relationships between physicians and pharmaceutical companies have been enacted at a rapid pace. Many doctors have been comfortable with these changes, but some aren't happy. Now, a group of those who feel the pendulum has swung too far have come together to cool things off a bit.

The Association of Clinical Researchers and Educators, which plans to hold its first conference at Brigham and Women's Hospital, says restricting relationships between doctors and pharma reps will ultimately hurt patients by stifling collaboration between clinicians and industry. 

Founders include Dr. Thomas Stossel, an oncologist at the Brigham; Dr. Jeffrey Garber, chief of endocrinology at Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates; and Dr. Paul Richardson, an oncologist at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

Among the biggest spurs for the formation of the group is the enactment of a Massachusetts law putting conflict-of-interest regulations into effect. The law bans gifts to doctors from drug and medical device companies, as well as requiring the companies to disclose most consulting payments made to doctors.

To learn more about the group:
- read this piece in The Boston Globe

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