Monday, August 16, 2010

Separating Industry and KOLs – How It’s Really Playing Out

We have been watching with keen interest the reaction of those people who want all dealings between industry and the medical community squelched, and their reaction to how separating industry and physicians is really playing out.

It's not happening quickly. In our recent blog post, we cited a study in which most physicians surveyed had no problem with an industry paid-for lunch. And in this blog, we discussed how quickly the ACCME changed its mind about allowing some types of industry-sponsored content at CME events after some major KOLs said, "Wait a minute, is this really necessary?"

Maybe people who want to keep industry and physician advisers at arms' length thought it would be easy to undo decades of collaborative effort. That a few editorials, some subcommittee hearings, a few influential reports, and some accusations would do the trick. While it is impacting these business practices, our concern continues to be the lack of focus these pundits have on understanding the unintended consequences.

Industry and the medical community have been collaborating for decades. This merger of bench and the clinic has been often helpful, and profitable. There is no evidence to suggest that this collaboration cannot continue now: The remarkable collaboration that just took place among Alzheimer's researchers is proof-positive.

We are not arguing against transparency. We are arguing against branding physicians as guilty until proven innocent.

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