Bans not working at medical schoolsProper disclosure and good faith efforts are apparently not enough to enforce university bans on paid speaking programs.
Cross-referencing names on its new “Dollars for Docs” database with faculty at 12 medical schools and teaching hospitals, nonprofit independent newsroom ProPublica discovered that faculty at half also lectured for drug firms in the last two years, despite restrictions on such speeches.
Stanford, the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Pittsburgh and the University of Colorado Denver were among those that initiated internal reviews after being confronted with the findings. At Stanford, where more than a dozen doctors were paid speakers in apparent violation of its policy, Dean Dr. Philip Pizzo told PBS: “Across the board, everyone who's seen their names on this list has been very remorseful…and very quick to say that they were going to cease and desist this going forward…that's how change occurs.” The school, where a ban on sponsored talks dates to 2009, is evaluating what the consequences should be.
Wary of legal penalties for off-label discussions, drug firms, ProPublica noted separately, have become stricter in requiring paid speakers to stick to prepared slides. Critics of marketing question whether this smacks of plagiarism. Pizzo said collaboration with industry is important for innovations to move from bench to bedside. “What we don't want is our name and our reputation to serve as the marketing for industry.”