Struggle over conflict-of-interest rules at U of Minnesota

A struggle is currently under way over revisions to conflict-of-interest rules at the University of Minnesota Medical School, one that offers a glimpse into the complexity of making real changes in academia's relationship to industry.

Last year, the school began circulating a 13-page draft of proposed new rules that would significantly ratchet up restrictions on relationships with drug and devicemakers. Now, the draft has been edited down to a two-page list of changes, and some of the rules have been toned down significantly.

For example, the original draft proposed ending all industry support for continuing medical education courses within five years, but the edited version permits such funding under the rules of a national accrediting organization.

In another change, the new rules would require faculty and staff at the school to report external funding over $500 from any single source, but previous proposal drafts recommended reporting any funding whatsoever. (Right now disclosure requirements are set at funding over $10,000.)

On the other hand, some key changes have remained, including plans for a website disclosing all industry payments to the med school's faculty.

To learn more about the proposal:
- read this Minneapolis Star-Tribune piece

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