School of Medicine Looking to Ban Speaking Fees

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Oregon Health & Science University School of Medicine Looking to Ban Speaking Fees

On November 26, 2012, Pharmalot reported that a medical school, Oregon Health & Science University School of Medicine, is looking to implement a plan recommending that its researchers should no longer accept paid speaking fees from drugmakers.  The proposal has drawn criticism from some University staff members who received lucrative compensation (upwards of $50,000 annually) from drugmakers.  Nonetheless, the proposal is expected to be approved in about two months.

According to the article, the school a month ago received a positive, but qualified grade on the most recent American Medical Student Association (AMSA) annual report card that tracks medical school policies toward financial dealings with the pharmaceutical industry. The AMSA noted that OHSU medical school policy is deficient by failing to prohibit participation in speakers bureaus.  Dean Mark Richardson, of OHSU School of Medicine remarked, “I think there’s a conflict-of-interest potential there that we should just eliminate, so nobody has to think about it.”  Various medical schools recently have tightened or adopted policies to limit industry influence or the perception of conflicts of interest.

The AMSA found that 102 medical schools out of a total of 152 – or 67 percent – were given a grade of A or B for policies governing interactions between drugmakers, faculty and students.  Of the 152 medical schools tracked, only 17 had policies restricting speaker bureau fees.

The Sunshine provision of the Affordable Care Act has given the issue greater urgency because the law requires drugmakers to post payments exceeding $10 to physicians on their web sites.  The author noted, however, that the federal government has not yet issued a final rule for gathering and publishing the data.

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