Send your comments and tips to email@example.com
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Ctr.
Boston Medical Center
Brigham and Women's Hospital
Cambridge Health Alliance
Caritas St. Elizabeth's Medical Ctr.
Children's Hospital Boston
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Joslin Diabetes Center
Mass. General Hospital
Mass. Health Law
New England Baptist Hospital
Short White Coat
Tufts-New England Medical Center
UMass Memorial Medical Center
University of Massachusetts
VA Medical Centers
A Healthy Blog
Running A Hospital
Nature Network Boston
SciBos - Corie Lok's blog
Nurse at small
Dr. Gwenn Is In
Healthy Children blog
Other Globe Blogs
Elizabeth Cooney is a health reporter for the Worcester Telegram & Gazette.
Boston Globe Health and Science staff:
Karen Weintraub, Deputy Health and Science Editor, and Gideon Gil, Health and Science Editor.
Short White Coat blogger Ishani Ganguli
Short White Coat blogger Jennifer Srygley
« Community partnerships needed to recruit minority patients to cancer clinical trials | Main | Today's Globe: drug-resistant germ, Affleck and hospital workers, ex-Mass. surgeon, defibrillator suit, Betsy Laitinen »
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
Ties between industry and medical schools widespread, survey finds
Almost two-thirds of the people leading medical school departments have personal relationships with industry and two-thirds of these departments have similar ties, a survey of 140 medical schools and top-funded teaching hospitals found. Most of the doctors polled said their relationships had no effect on their decisions, but they thought multiple conflicts of others could lead to biased research.
"When you say 'everyone's doing it,' the accumulation of data suggests that's really true," Eric G. Campbell, associate professor of health policy at the Massachusetts General Hospital Institute for Health Policy, said in an interview. He is the lead author of the study appearing in tomorrow's Journal of the American Medical Association. "There is virtually no aspect of medical education in which drug companies don't have significant relationships."
Campbell said the study gives the first portrayal of the links between companies and medical schools on the department level. The authors sampled departments of medicine, psychiatry, microbiology and one other nonclinical department at each surveyed institution.
They asked the individual chairs if they had served on company boards or speakers bureaus, been a paid consultant, or received compensation in the form of stock options, travel subsidies or honoraria. For departments, the questions were whether they got unrestricted funds, support for graduate students, or money for holding research seminars. They were asked if discretionary funds from industry paid for food and beverage, travel to meetings, journal subscriptions, software, or research or clinical equipment.
When asked about other chairs' involvement with companies, almost three-quarters of the respondents thought having more than one substantial role, such as being a consultant and a board member, would harm the department's ability to conduct independent research.
"Failure to address the existence and influence of industry relationships with academic institutions could endanger the trust of the public in US medical schools and teaching hospitals," the authors concluded.