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Ann Intern Med. 2002 Mar 5;136(5):403-6.

Physician-industry relations. Part 2: organizational issues.

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Center for Ethics and Professionalism, American College of Physicians-American Society of Internal Medicine, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19106-1572, USA.


This is part 2 of a 2-part paper on ethics and physician-industry relationships. Part 1 offers advice to individual physicians; part 2 gives recommendations to medical education providers and medical professional societies. Industry often sponsors programs for graduate and continuing medical education, as well as major events of medical professional societies. Industry is an abundant source of advances in medicine and technology and plays a crucial role in disseminating up-to-date medical information. Although industry information fills an important need, studies suggest that it is often biased. Providers of graduate and continuing medical education have a duty to present objective and balanced information to their participants; thus, they should not accept any funds that are contingent on a sponsor's ability to shape programming. Medical educators need to evaluate and control the planning, content, and delivery of education provided under their auspices. They should disclose industry sponsorship to students, faculty, and continuing medical education participants and should adopt explicit organizational policies about acceptable and unacceptable interactions with industry. Medical professional societies have a duty to promote the independent judgment and professionalism of their members. Organizers of industry-sponsored meetings should clearly separate product promotion from impartial medical education. Adopting specific policies for dealing with industry sponsorship can also help professional societies guard against outside influence. The American College of Physicians--American Society of Internal Medicine's core ethical principles for external funding and relationships serve as an example.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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