Medical societies sign on to voluntary ethics code

Following the lead of major medical journals adopting a uniform conflict-of-interest disclosure for researchers last year, the Council of Medical Specialty Societies has created a new ethics code aimed at limiting the influence drug and devicemakers have over patient care, reports the Associated Press.

Fourteen of the 32 groups in the CMSS, including American Society of Clinical Oncology and the American College of Physicians, have already adopted the code, which 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.

"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, who helped develop the code, said in a statement.

To learn more:
- read this HealthDay piece
- check out this Associated Press article
- here's the ASCO's statement
- here's the CMSS code