NPR : News

Filed Under:

A Critic's Advice For Doctors In Search Of Industry Work

Over in the U.K. there's a set of principles being floated in support of collaboration between the drug industry and doctors.

A sample of the dos and don'ts for doctors reads a little like dating advice:

"Don't establish blanket policies denying interaction with industry or regard it merely as a source of funding.

Do look for opportunities to get involved: in clinical trials, in joint working and/or with opportunities provided by industry for medical education."

Yes, there have been problems in the past. But the document suggests not letting those issues scare doctors off:

"Opportunities may be missed or even rejected because of misconceptions stemming from historical practices that are no longer acceptable, or the actions of a few individuals that are not typical of the working relationship between healthcare professionals and the industry."

Go ahead and see sales reps, the document counsels, and help drugmakers by serving on their advisory boards. And look for ways to take advantage of industry-sponsored education.

I'd overlooked the guidelines until today, when Australian journalist Ray Moynihan, a frequent critic of financial conflicts in medicine, made me take notice with a piece in BMJ, the British Medical Journal.

He makes quick (and footnoted) work of them. In his own tongue-in-cheek way, he advises would-be collaborators with some more dos and don'ts. A sample:

  • Don't read a review that found no evidence that doctors who saw drug reps were any better off when it came to prescribing medicines well.
  • Don't read an analysis that found doctors who had positive views of the controversial diabetes drug Avandia were more likely to have financial conflicts involving drug companies.
  • Don't read a proposal to control conflicts of interest in medicine by reducing the sway industry has on continuing medical education.

Moynihan takes a hard line. But it's not that hard to see why. Recent history provides plenty of cautionary tales.

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

In An Alternate 19th Century London, Sins Are Marked With 'Smoke'

NPR's Audie Cornish speaks with Dan Vyleta about his novel, Smoke. It's set in an alternate 19th century London, where the morally corrupt are marked by a smoke that pours from their bodies.
WAMU 88.5

D.C.'s Public Schools Select New Lunch Providers

D.C. Public Schools is abandoning longtime school food provider Chartwells in the wake of allegations of poor food quality and fraud and moving forward with new vendors for 2016. But, questions remain about the selection process and future oversight.

WAMU 88.5

Creating A D.C. State Constitution

We explore the historic process of crafting a constitution for D.C. statehood nearly three decades after the last attempt, and find out how drafters are preparing for the June constitutional convention.

NPR

Online Eye Exam Site Makes Waves In Eye Care Industry

Need a vision test? Now you can do it online with a computer and a smartphone. The site has attracted a lot of attention in the tech world, but eye care professionals have concerns.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.