A pillar of the medical establishment criticized industry freebies for doctors in a wide-ranging report that calls for an end to practices that threaten to corrode physicians’ independent judgment and public trust in the profession.
The Institute of Medicine, an arm of the National Academy of Sciences, released a long-awaited report Tuesday that says disclosure of potential conflicts is a necessary first step but isn’t enough to safeguard medicine.
Some of the recommendations, if adopted, would eliminate longstanding practices, such as doctors’ use of free samples of brand-name drugs for all but the poorest patients, industry funding of continuing medical education and company ghostwriting of studies published or presented by doctors.
Columbia University’s David Rothman bluntly told the New York Times, “With the I.O.M.’s endorsement, issues that were once controversial now are indisputable. Conflicts of interest in medicine are no longer acceptable.”
Though many of the recommendations have already gained traction with universities, law makers and companies, some criticized the report as being short on facts to support its recommendations. Thomas Stossel, a Harvard Medical School professor, told The Wall Street Journal, “There is no evidence for the need of these regulation. It’s high-end welfare for the ethicists and maybe job security for the academic administrators.”
Bio Bonus: The report includes bios of committee members, including Peter Corr, formerly a research executive at Pfizer, who still holds stock and options in the drug maker. See the lineup starting on page 331.