Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Wisconsin, Once Again, Makes Us Look Bad...

Much has been made about the U of M's possible new regs concerning conflict of interest in the University of Minnesota Medical School. Let us hope that speedy implementation of conflict of interest rules is done soon by the Medical School and approved speedily by the Board of Regents. Wisconsin is to be congratulated for moving on this very serious ethical problem.

As Gary Schwitzer point out in his blog on Uthink:

Badger docs ban gifts

Thanks to Merrill Goozner for tipping me off on this one. The Wisconsin Medical Society’s ethics policy states that physician members “shall accept no gifts from any provider of products that they prescribe to their patients such as personal items, office supplies, food, travel and time costs, or payment for participation in online (CME) continuing medical education. A complete ban eases the burdens of compliance, biased decision making, and patient distrust.”


The direct provision of drug samples to patients should be limited and, when possible, should be replaced by a system of vouchers for evidence-based drug choices.

Physicians serving on formulary committees who have any kind of commercial relationship with a health product company shall disclose any such relationship and recuse themselves from the formulary process, as necessary to avoid bias.

CME providers should not accept support from health product companies directly. A CME provider may create a fund for medical education that may accept unrestricted donations from health product companies that is then dispersed according to institutional policy; this policy, financial contributors and the amount of their contributions shall be disclosed as public information on an easily accessible Web site.

Physicians should not serve as members of speaker bureaus for health product companies or their contractees.

Physicians should not allow their names to be listed as authors for articles written by health product company employees, a practice called “ghostwriting.”

Since ethical collaboration between the profession and the health product industry is essential for the continued development of health products, high-integrity consulting and research relationships shall be strongly encouraged. However, to avoid such relationships being tantamount to a gift, such relationships shall be based in contracts for specific “deliverables” in return for just compensation.

The following office sign is available for members of the Wisconsin Medical Society:
Office Sign:


To uphold the highest standards of our Profession,
To ensure our advice is based solely on what’s best for you, and
To enable your highest level of trust in our advice,
We follow the recommendations of the Wisconsin Medical Society,
And accept no gifts from any provider of a product that we prescribe or recommend to you.

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