The Association of American Medical Colleges has issued new guidelines (link to downloadable report) today to address conflicts of interest among physicians at teaching hospitals. In its report, it calls the partnership among academic medical centers and industry "essential to capture the fruits of biomedical research for the benefit of the public," but emphasizes that financial conflicts must be examined and evaluated to ensure that "academic medicine in all of its missions is fundamentally dedicated to the welfare of patients."
From a release:
Although many academic medical centers have conflicts of interest (COI) policies that govern research and corporate relationships, only a small number of these institutions have adopted policies that define and address conflicts of interest in clinical care... The report... recommends that academic medical centers:
- Establish mechanisms to identify physician-industry financial relationships and evaluate their potential to bias the clinical decision-making of physicians
- Consider payments for services, royalties, and ownership when assessing individual related financial interests
- Set thresholds for physician reporting and institutions' evaluation of reported interests
- Make available to their patient communities and the public information on the industry relationships of their physicians, their value, and efforts to mitigate any bias resulting from these relationships.