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Acad Med. 2010 Jan;85(1):68-73. doi: 10.1097/ACM.0b013e3181c42deb.

Can academic departments maintain industry relationships while promoting physician professionalism?

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Department of Psychiatry, University at Buffalo, Buffalo, New York, USA.


The authors describe the development of a comprehensive policy for relationships of full-time and volunteer faculty and residents with industry. The underlying philosophy was that an academic approach to relations with industry that emphasizes objective outcomes and internal change will be more effective than rote restrictions on behavior that assume that physicians cannot learn new behaviors and that are impossible to enforce. The policy, developed through much discussion and debate with stakeholders, involves elimination of industry-supplied meals, gifts, and favors; integration of industry-sponsored and academic research; education of faculty and residents about the ways in which industry marketing influences clinical decision making; and comprehensive disclosure by faculty, including to patients, of financial interests in industry. At occasional points in the psychopharmacology curriculum and at a departmental "pharma symposium," industry representatives or industry-sponsored guest speakers are allowed to present peer-reviewed articles followed by comments by a faculty member with relevant expertise about aspects of the presentation that are accurate or misleading and by a general discussion of research and clinical implications of the research and the manner in which it is presented. Adherence to new protocols has been high because faculty and residents participated in developing them and are involved in their implementation. Acceptance by industry representatives has been variable. Experience with this approach suggests that it is possible to develop a collaborative relationship with industry that maintains appropriate boundaries between industry and academia.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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