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Panel Seeks Fuller Disclosure of Drug Company Payments
Date:4/28/2009

Government report also suggests gift ban, drug sample limits

TUESDAY, April 28 (HealthDay News) -- A government panel is calling on Congress to require drug, device and biotechnology companies to publicly report payments they make to certain individuals and institutions, including physicians, researchers, professional societies and patient advocacy groups.

The panel also said there should be a ban on gifts to doctors, limitations on the use of drug samples and a requirement that every institution in the United States engaging in medical research, the practice of medicine or medical education establish conflict-of-interest policies.

The suggestions are among 16 recommendations contained in a report, Conflict of Interest in Medical Research, Education and Practice, released Tuesday by the Institute of Medicine (IOM), part of the National Academy of Sciences. The IOM serves as an adviser to the nation on health matters.

"We're asking for more disclosure in terms of more specifics and more standardization of what gets disclosed," said Dr. Bernard Lo, director of the program in medical ethics at the University of California, San Francisco, and chairman of the IOM panel that prepared the report.

Dr. Peter Lurie, deputy director of the Health Research Group at the Washington, D.C.-based advocacy group Public Citizen, said the report is comprehensive and is a significant step forward.

"It's an acknowledgment of the severity of the conflict-of-interest problem and the degree to which certain cases can pollute every aspect of medicine, from clinical care to research to education," he said.

"I think it's important that patients and consumers know that this report exists," added Linda Golodner, president emeritus of the National Consumers League in Washington, D.C. "And they should put the pressure on professional organizations and societies to understand that they should have good principl
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