On April 28, 2009, the Committee on Conflict of Interest in Medical Research, Education, and Practice for the Institutes of Medicine (IOM) published a report discussing financial conflicts of interest involving physicians and researchers (Medicine) and the pharmaceutical, medical device and biotechnology companies (Industry), that made a number of recommendations for preventing conflicts of interest.

 

The report, entitled "Conflict of Interest in Medical Research, Education, and Practice," contains the following suggestions (among others) for mitigating potential conflicts of interest between Industry and Medicine:

  • Medical institutions (e.g., academic medical centers, professional societies, patient advocacy groups, medical journals) should establish conflict of interest committees and policies that require disclosure and management of individual and institutional financial ties to Industry.
  • The content, format and procedures for disclosing financial relationships of physicians and researchers with Industry should be standardized.
  • Congress should create a national reporting program requiring pharmaceutical, medical device and biotechnology companies to publicly disclose all payments to physicians, researchers, healthcare institutions, professional societies, patient advocacy and disease groups and continuing medical education providers.
  • Researchers should not be permitted to conduct research involving human subjects if they have a financial interest in the outcome of the research (unless they are essential for the safe and appropriate conduct of the research).
  • Academic medical center and teaching hospital faculty should not be permitted to accept gifts, make presentations that are controlled by Industry, claim authorship for ghost-written publications or enter into consulting arrangements without written contracts specifying that services will be paid at fair market value.
  • Medical centers should restrict visits by Industry sales people and limit use of drug samples to financially needy patients.
  • A new funding system for continuing medical education (CME) should be established so that the CME system will be free of Industry influence.
  • Community-based physicians should be prohibited from accepting meals, gifts, drug samples or presentations from Industry sources.
  • Organizations (e.g., professional societies) that develop clinical practice guidelines should be prohibited from accepting direct Industry funding for guideline development and exclude individuals with conflicts of interest from panels that develop the guidelines.
  • Health insurers, accrediting bodies and government agencies should develop incentives for policy change.
  • HHS should develop a research agency to create a stronger evidence base for future conflict of interest policies.