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Special Communication |

Health Industry Practices That Create Conflicts of Interest:  A Policy Proposal for Academic Medical Centers

Troyen A. Brennan, MD, MPH; David J. Rothman, PhD; Linda Blank; David Blumenthal, MD, MPP; Susan C. Chimonas, PhD; Jordan J. Cohen, MD; Janlori Goldman, JD; Jerome P. Kassirer, MD; Harry Kimball, MD; James Naughton, MD; Neil Smelser, PhD
JAMA. 2006;295(4):429-433. doi:10.1001/jama.295.4.429.
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Conflicts of interest between physicians' commitment to patient care and the desire of pharmaceutical companies and their representatives to sell their products pose challenges to the principles of medical professionalism. These conflicts occur when physicians have motives or are in situations for which reasonable observers could conclude that the moral requirements of the physician's roles are or will be compromised. Although physician groups, the manufacturers, and the federal government have instituted self-regulation of marketing, research in the psychology and social science of gift receipt and giving indicates that current controls will not satisfactorily protect the interests of patients. More stringent regulation is necessary, including the elimination or modification of common practices related to small gifts, pharmaceutical samples, continuing medical education, funds for physician travel, speakers bureaus, ghostwriting, and consulting and research contracts. We propose a policy under which academic medical centers would take the lead in eliminating the conflicts of interest that still characterize the relationship between physicians and the health care industry.

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The American Medical Association is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The AMA designates this journal-based CME activity for a maximum of 1 AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM per course. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. Physicians who complete the CME course and score at least 80% correct on the quiz are eligible for AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM.
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