More academic medical centers mull conflict-of-interest rule changes

The trend among academic medical centers of late has been to restrict physician relationships with pharmaceutical companies and medical devicemakers. This week, the trend continues to evolve as Harvard Medical School and the University of Wisconsin-Madison consider significant changes to conflict-of-interest rules.

At Harvard Medical School, a committee is meeting this week to discuss ways to strengthen the school's conflict-of-interest policy, which recently got an 'F' grade from the American Medical Student Association for failing to address company gifts or meals. Harvard's current policy focuses on limiting research conflicts, such as faculty members holding too much stock in companies sponsoring their research. It also limits consulting or other fees to $20,000 annually.

At the University of Wisconsin-Madison, a task force of doctors and health professionals is recommending substantial changes to the school's conflict-of-interest rules, including an outright ban on doctors giving promotional talks for drug companies. Along with banning "dinner talks" sponsored by industry, the task force would like to see doctors disclose specific dollar amounts, to within $1,000, of money they get from pharmas and medical device firms.

To learn more about this trend:
- read this Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel piece
- read this Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report piece

Related Articles:
Harvard Med School strengthens conflict-of-interest rules
Study: Academic medical centers have easier time with conflict-of-interest policies
UPMC plans rollout of drugmaker relationship limits
Cardiac surgeon faces conflict-of-interest challenge