The drug manufacturers have been paying for developing medical guidelines for several years. This practice is difficult to defend. A new ethics code that dozens of leading medical groups announced last month, aimed at limiting the influence that drug and device makers have over patient care, is a good thing. It’s the most sweeping move ever taken by the Council of Medical Specialty Societies to curb conflict of interest — a growing concern — as private industry bankrolls a greater share of medical research.
The Council includes 32 medical societies with 650,000 members, from neurologists and obstetricians to family doctors and pediatricians. They include the American College of Physicians, the American College of Cardiology and the American Society of Clinical Oncology, the largest group of cancer specialists in the world. One of the most controversial rules is one requiring top leaders of any medical society and top editors of its journals to have no consulting deals or financial ties to industry. Among other things the code of ethics will require:
Fourteen groups in the Council, including ASCO and the College of Physicians, have already adopted the code. It was reported that most of the rest plan to by the end of the year. Last year, leading medical journals agreed to use a uniform conflict-of-interest disclosure form for researchers publishing in their journals. The new ethics code the Council is adopting should make financial ties more transparent and that’s very important.
Source: USA Today
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