… in the Minneapolis Star Tribune notes that the most charitable description of what’s been going on at the clubby University of Minnesota medical school would be “bizarre.”
Friday, December 4, 2009
Conflict of Interest at the University of Minnesota
From the Strib:
U Medical ethics group has industry ties
A committee that reviews conflicts of interest has several members with connections to drug and device makers.
Dr. David Polly, a nationally known spine surgeon at the University of Minnesota who has come under fire for his consulting relationship with medical device maker Medtronic Inc., serves on a university committee that reviews and monitors conflicts of interest among doctors and faculty at the U's Academic Health Center.
[Yes, you actually read that...]
Polly isn't the only member of the U's Conflict Review Committee with industry ties: Dr. Scott Crow, a professor in the Medical School's Psychiatry Department, received about $273,000 from various drug companies between 2002 and 2008, according to Minnesota Board of Pharmacy records.
Having members of a committee with industry ties is "essential," said university spokesman Daniel Wolter. "They bring expertise and a keen understanding of the nature of those relationships and steps that can be taken to manage potential conflicts."
[Dan, how do you sleep at night?]
"They were looking for people who had experience with trying to deal with conflicts and trying to work through them in a university setting," Polly said.
[David, you should have washed your hands of this until your own situation is straightened out.]
When reached late Friday, Crow declined to discuss the payments in detail. When asked if the amount was accurate, Crow said "It could be, I haven't reviewed the records."
[I have so much money, this is a drop in the bucket, I have no idea?]
The proposed conflict of interest policy incorporates some of the tenets of an earlier document crafted for the Medical School under former dean Deborah Powell. However, the Star Tribune revealed last year that the head of that task force, Dr. Leo Furcht, had been disciplined for an ethical lapse in 2004 after secretly steering a $501,000 research grant to his own company. The Medical School policy was subsequently shelved when Bruininks determined that a broader policy was needed. While university officials say the current draft is one of the toughest in the nation, Dr. Steven Miles, a U bioethicist, wrote on a health news blog Friday that the policy is "incomplete and flawed."
[Truly sickening and disgusting.]
From the comments:So what else is new?
As a faculty member at the University of Minnesota and an alum (Ph.D., Chemistry, 1973) I can say that this is the most disgusting thing I have heard so far about conflict of interest at the U. A housecleaning in the Medical School and Morrill Hall is long over due... Many of us love the U but we are truly saddened by the lack of leadership on this and many other issues. Excuses have to stop. Action is required. William B. GleasonIndeed---more BS from a once great school
As an alum, staff member, volunteer, alum parent, etc. etc. it really saddens me to see this stuff. If Minnesotans paid ANY attention at all to the U and its policies and educational decline they would be outraged. But instead, we all get distracted by the big shiny stadium! Meanwhile, ordinary staffers like me, and dedicated faculty like Prof. Gleason labor away trying to hold things together and provide a meaningful resource at the U for Minnesotans which is every day damaged immeasurably, and perhaps beyond repair--by the corrupt leadership endeminc to the place. Minnesota! Sky high tuition for a state school, and languishing in almost every academic measure--but by golly, we got a groovy stadium and nifty maroon M's everywhere so it must all be good!
The U is Dirty
clean house Governor, the Legislature won't
Kudos to you, Dr. Gleason!
What a cesspool...
Many more of the U's esteemed alumni need to step forward!
the U has become. Having the head of their own "ethics" (I use that term very loosly) task force secretly steer a $501,000 research grant to his own company is like letting Bernie Madoff head up the SEC because he knows a lot about securities irregularities!Wealth
Medicine isn't about becoming wealthy. Doctors have a compact with society to deliver unbiased medicine. Any doctor that receives a million dollars from Medtronic should be questioned-- and should not be monitoring other doctors conflicts of interest. If you're on the COI review committee you need solid understanding of ethics-- not experience with industry. These comments are obvious-- but the U doesn't get it.
This isn't about eliminating all potential conflicts of interest... it might be hard to do that unless we have reflective, smart doctors. And sure, you can always find an iota of bias here and there. But we do want to set up a system that encourages and rewards doctors for practicing medicine that is informed by science, instead of medtronic. We're talking about million dollar payments. Dr. Polly testified before congress without declaring his conflicts of interest. He's on the board that reviews conflicts of interest. This suggests that we have a broken system. It's actually really scary-- those that draw the most fire are in charge of reviewing conflicts of interest. Good reporting, Strib.(Truly sad.)