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Medical groups beefing up conflict-of-interest policies

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Stricter ethics rules are all the rage in health care and medicine right now. That's according to NPR's Shots writer Maggie Mertens, who has a round-up today of drug companies, medical organizations and federal agencies that are beefing up their ethics and disclosure policies.

Of particular interest to medical professionals may be recent industry-interaction guidelines from the Council of Medical Specialty Sciences, which represents groups like the American College of Physicians and the American College of Cardiology. The new recommendation, Mertens reports, is for "medical specialty groups to stop taking industry money when coming up with guidelines for treatment." And:

The rules also require that all funding from pharmaceutical and device-making companies to board members or groups will be publicly disclosed. Swag at medical conferences becomes a no-no, although big drugmakers had said a few years back they were going to stop the giveaways of medicine-branded pens, logoed tote bags and that sort of thing anyway.

Although not mentioned in the piece, some academic medical centers already have disclosure policies and/or bans on industry gifts for their physicians. Stanford has both, as outlined here and here.

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