Time for Med Schools to Adopt Conflict of Interest Policies

John Commins, October 16, 2013

It shouldn't take an IOM recommendation to ban ghostwriting, and yet one-third of medical schools still allow it. Why aren't all medical colleges in compliance with the fairly straightforward clinical conflict of interest policies set forth by four prominent medical associations?

What's taking so long?

It's been seven years since the first of a series of detailed guidelines from four blue chip associations addressed clinical conflict of interest at the nation's medical schools. In 2006 the Institute for Medicine as a Profession and the American Board of Internal Medicine Foundation issued guidelines, followed in 2008 by the American Association of Medical Colleges and in 2009 by the Institute of Medicine.

See Also: Med Schools Failing on Conflict of Interest Policies

And yet a report in the October issue of Academic Medicine that examines clinical conflict of interest policies (CCOI) at the nation's medical colleges finds that while progress is being made, these hallowed training grounds for the physicians of tomorrow remain lax at teaching them about inappropriate behavior.

For example, the Institute for Medicine as a Profession review found that nearly one-third of medical colleges still have no prohibitions on ghostwriting. Nearly two-thirds of medical colleges still lack policies to limit ties to industry, including gifts, meals, drug samples, industry-funded continuing medical education, and payments for travel, consulting, and speaking.

Only 16% meet national standards in at least half of the areas, and no school met all the standards.


John Commins

John Commins is a senior editor at HealthLeaders Media.

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