A step in the right direction

A front pager in Sunday’s NY Times reports on new, more restrictive conflict-of-interest rules imposed by Partners Healthcare (which includes Mass General and Brigham and Women’s Hospitals). Read the whole thing for yourself, and marvel at the degree to which some of these academic leaders are awash in industry conflict! The chief of medicine at MGH received $220,000 last year from Pfizer, and over $700,000 since 2006?!

Despite the pains taken by the reporter to present both sides of the issue, I don’t see this as a difficult call. I agree completely with Arnold Relman, former editor of the New England Journal of Medicine:
“[it is] a gross conflict for an official of an academic medical center to be on the board of a pharmaceutical company. If it isn’t stopped, I think the academic institutions are going to lose the confidence of the country and the government…..They will be part of industry itself.”


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