Yesterday, the Council of Medical Specialty Societies adopted a new ethics code that stands to limit the influence of pharmaceutical companies on decisions made by physicians. The council is comprised of 650,000 members from the American College of Physicians, the American College of Cardiology, the American Society of Clinical Oncology, and 30 others.
The new guidelines include:
No more letting industry help pay for developing medical guidelines. Restrictions on consulting deals. And no more pens with drug company names or other swag at conferences.
Requiring top leaders of any medical society and top editors of its journals to have no consulting deals or financial ties to industry.
“When a physician stands up to represent medicine and his or her specialty, there shouldn’t be any confusion as to who they’re speaking for,” said Dr. Norman Kahn, the council’s chief executive and a former rural medicine doctor from California. Read more at USA Today…
What you need to know:
This is so important folks. We rely on doctors for unbiased medical advice. But if that doctor receives financial or other incentives to prescribe drug X – when drug Y is just as good or even better or just cheaper – we have a problem.
What can the American Dietetic Association learn from this?
How about refusing sponsorships from food companies? The picture above was taken at the ADA’s annual convention last October. Several key sessions were specifically sponsored by food companies, including one on sugar and artificial sweeteners that was sponsored by none other than Coca Cola.
If you think that comparing the medical world and the dietetic world is unfair, you are right. At least the pharma companies are creating medicines that improve or save lives. Can junk food companies claim the same? Can beverage companies?
That’s why Coca Cola, Mars, and other purveyors of childhood obesity (and grownup obesity) have no place sponsoring any ADA activity.
And yes, we are certainly aware of the fact that without corporate funding, the ADA will not be able to achieve its important missions. But is it achieving them with the sponsorship? (hint: 200 million Americans are overweight and growing).