Minnesota med school weighing gift and grants ban

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The University of Minnesota Medical School is weighing a tough ban on gifts to physicians and requiring docs to publicly disclose all relationships with drug companies, according to a University newspaper.

Those measures are included in the recommendations of a University Medical School conflict-of-interest task force, which also called for: limiting the use of pharmaceutical samples and centralizing their distribution; curbing and ultimately eliminating industry funding for education; eliminating the $10,000 threshold defining a “significant financial interest” and requiring instead that all financial involvement be reported; registering clinical trials; a ban on ghostwriting and new disclosure requirements for publication of articles by university employees. In addition, under the task force plan, conflict-of-interest policies would be extended to non-human research, students and short-term faculty or those on leave.

Instructors would be required to disclose relationships with drug companies to students, and doctors would be required to disclose industry ties directly to patients and online, through a university-administered website.

In its executive summary, the task force acknowledged the value of some interactions with industry in research, care and education, but said “both real and perceived conflicts of interest between health professionals' financial interests and the best interests of patients can damage the image of the profession and the medical school.”

The Minnesota Daily noted that the American Medical Student Association recently graded the University Medical School a ‘D' for weak conflict-of-interest policies.
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