Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Doctors on the Dole
Second Verse, Same as the First?

From the Daily:

Medical clarifications

With a June 11 article and a June 18 editorial, The Minnesota Daily has touched on the issue of conflict of interest within the Medical School. I am sure your reporter and your editorial board strive for fairness and accuracy; however, there are gaps that I would like to fill.

Several months ago, Dean Deborah Powell asked a Medical School task force to analyze the implications of relationships with pharmaceutical and medical device companies in our research, clinical care and education missions. As you know, other medical schools and research institutions around the country also are grappling with this issue. Working with industry is one way that we in the Medical School promote new ideas and help improve treatments, care and health. Figuring out how to avoid conflicts of interest within these relationships is the goal of our task force.

Our process has been a thoughtful one, which takes time. The task force expects to report its recommendations soon to the dean.

Allison Campbell Jensen
Director of Communications
University Medical School

Since you are so interested in fairness and accuracy, Ms. Jensen, I think that you should admit that "several months ago" is not accurate.

It was more like a year ago...

Monday, July 9, 2007

BigU MedSchool Task Force to Probe Doctors on the Dole

In an earlier post, Minnesota Doctors on the Dole, Mr. Bonzo, suggested that perhaps BigU’s Medical School should weigh in and give us ethical guidance.

He was, of course, being sarcastic. For background about the controversy over the MedSchoolDean's serving on the Pepsi board, see SourceWatch: A Project of the Center for Media and Democracy.

From the Pioneer Press:

U to probe drug makers' payments to doctors

Conflicts of interest, impact on quality of care at stake

By Paul Tosto and Jeremy Olson

Article Last Updated: 07/07/2007 03:12:07 AM CDT

Concerned about the money some doctors take from pharmaceutical companies, the University of Minnesota Medical School is asking an internal group to take a closer look at those payments and their possible influence on treatment.

Led by two U doctors, the group plans to examine the relationships between university physicians and drug firms and whether money creates conflicts of interest.

We have some serious problems here, Ms. Jensen. Better to face up to them than to make excuses?

The reader interested in filling in gaps might want to consult previous posts on the matter of conflict of interest and possible ethical lapses in the medical school:

Photoshop Manipulation of Scientific Data

BigU MedSchool To Probe Doctors on the Dole

Minnesota Doctors on the Dole
or "I bought the Mercedes because it has air bags"

It’s the Ick Factor…
BigU MedSchoolDean Sits on the Pepsi Board

Med School Dean on Pepsi Board - Aurum de stercore?

But then why should we be all upset about this Ms. Jensen? After all OurLeader has assured us, upon learning of our recent D-rating for conflict of interest at Academic Medical Centers, that:

"I think we need to put ourselves in the position of acting according to the highest ethical principles. I believe our people do that now and I believe our people will be doing that in the future as well." President Bruininks (Daily: 6-18-08)

Ah, yes, and then there is the little matter of the double dipping new hires.

As an alum, all I can say is: "Sad, truly sad."

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