As more medical professionals jump on the conflict of interest band wagon – the Council of Medical Specialty Societies (as reported in Fierce Pharma) being the latest – maybe it’s time to be less myopic and examine this situation from 30,000 feet up.
So far, the exam yields nothing but questions.
- What will be the effect of all this transparency?
- Should the separatists, (those who believe that industry money is too much of a lure to keep physician consultants honest), get most of what they want, then what will happen to real research and development?
- Can anyone deny that collaboration has not yielded excellent results?
- What will be the effect of all this finger-pointing on physician and student education? Will all presenters be looked upon with mistrust? What about CME? Will it survive? Who will pay for it?
- Will physicians avoid becoming NIH researchers, not wanting to see their name on a Web site?
- Will physicians stop working with industry, for the same reason?
All of this seems to suggest that healthcare professionals working with industry are guilty until proven innocent! It is clear that the former model must change and adapt; our message is that some may be trying to throw the baby out with the bathwater. Good, clearly structured contracts can help make this process more organized and disciplined -- which is what many are really saying anyway.