Payments limited for docs who serve on pharma boards

After much scrutiny over its lack of a solid conflict-of-interest policy, Massachusetts-based Partners HealthCare finally bit the bullet, banning stock payments and limiting fees to high-ranking doctors and executives that reside on the boards of biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies, the Boston Globe reports. The rules were put in place last Friday to loosen the perceived grip pharmaceutical companies have on the hospital chain, as well as to bring more "transparency" to the academia-pharma relationship. 

Physicians also are not allowed to be compensated for appearing at pharmaceutical "speakers bureaus," according to the new policy. An overall ban on such relationships was under consideration, but ultimately was rejected due to what Partners Office for Interactions with Industry director Christopher Clark called "significant benefits." 

"[The relationships] give us some insight into how the companies work and how they are doing, and making sure the companies are aware of the academic perspective," Clark said. 

The new policy limits pay to $500 per hour for doctors and executives who also serve on pharmaceutical company boards. About 25 vice presidents, clinical department heads and top executives are affected by the new rules, according to the Globe

For more information on the new policy:
- read the Boston Globe's article