Harvard University’s Edmond J. Safra Foundation Center for Ethics has conducted a lecture series focused on Institutional Corruption. In December, Marcia Angell-Relman, M.D., the first woman to serve as acting editor-in-chief of the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM), gave an hour lecture which focused on conflicts of interest (COI) in academic medical centers (AMCs), and continuing medical education (CME). After the lecture, ...

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Urban myths come in all shapes and sizes. Recent medical scares include a rogue politician claiming that a vaccine is no good, based on someone they met in the audience who was not trained in medicine or science.  How many physicians know patients who are scared of taking a medication or getting a needed procedure based on an Internet story or a friend of a friend? Recently, there has been controversy ...

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The issue of social media being used by the pharmaceutical and health care industry has raised a variety of concerns from consumer groups and industry critics. Most recently, several consumer groups filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) alleging that the pharmaceutical industry’s use of social media was deceptive and unfair. Consequently, a recent article in the New England Journal of Medicine also covered the issue of social ...

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As the number of restrictions on physicians working with industry continue to grow, and the places where policies prohibit physicians from collaborating with industry expand, close examination of the reasons supporting these policies is necessary. The current trend of academic medical centers (AMCs), professional organizations, and States that have begun adopting policies that restrict permissible interactions and activities between industry and ...

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Both the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPAC), as well as the stimulus bill from last year included funding, which focused on the use of health information technology (HIT) and electronic health records (EHRs). These initiatives are aimed at getting health care providers and entities to begin using information technology to improve the quality, efficiency, and delivery of care to patients. Along the same lines as using HIT, a recent article ...

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The growing criticism of industry funded continuing medical education (CME) over the past several years has had a number of significant effects on the CME community. As the Accreditation Council of Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) annual report showed, from 2007 to the present, commercial support of CME dropped 29.3%, and the number of directly sponsored CME activities decreased over 7% between 2008 and 2009. CME funding is extremely important ...

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In addition to outlining patient’s medications, and teaching them what times of day to take the drugs that will help control their specific disease, pharmacists are now taking on a new role to address the growing healthcare needs and demands of Americans, according to a recent article in the New York Times. For example, at Barney’s Pharmacy in Augusta, Ga., the pharmacy offers classes at the store for patients ...

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Howard Brody, a family physician, recently wrote an article in the Annals of Family Medicine discussing, “Professional Medical Organizations and Commercial Conflicts of Interest: Ethical Issues.” The article focused on how AAFP has “recently been criticized for accepting a large corporate donation from Coca-Cola to fund patient education and materials on obesity prevention,” and how this money has been called a “conflict of interest.” To that effect, Dr. Brody defines such ...

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While the percentage of commercial support for continuing medical education (CME) has continued to drastically drop over the past few years (29% decrease from 2007 to 2009), recent data, which show an epidemic of medication errors in hospitals, make this decrease even more troublesome. At a time when 30 million more patients will flood our hospitals, do we really need to ...

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