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U.S. Medical Schools, Drug Makers Share Strong Ties
Date:10/16/2007

Majority of department chairs have connections with industry, study finds

TUESDAY, Oct. 16 (HealthDay News) -- More than half of department chairs at U.S. medical schools and teaching hospitals have financial ties with the drug industry, a new study finds.

These institutional relationships seemed to be just as widespread as those of individual physicians or scientists with industry.

"There is not a single aspect of medicine in which the drug companies do not have substantial and deep relationships, affecting not only doctors-in-training, resident physicians, researchers, physicians-in-practice, the people who review drugs for the federal government and the people who review studies," said lead researcher Eric Campbell, associate professor at the Institute for Health Policy at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston.

"Drug companies have relationships with everyone," he continued. "They're involved in every aspect of medicine. Someone has to decide which of these is OK."

The study, the first to examine the extent of these institutional relationships, is published in the Oct. 17 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Although Campbell himself reported no financial conflicts, one co-author did report having served as a consultant for drug makers Genentech and GlaxoSmithKline.

"I think the paper is a very valuable contribution, in that it provides what's probably the first comprehensive documentation of the extent of relationships that involve department chairs, and department chairs are certainly the key agents of overseeing and maintaining the day-to-day operations of a medical school or teaching hospital," said Dr. David Korn, senior vice president, division of biomedical and health sciences research at the Association of American Medical Colleges in Washington, D.C. "The extent of the relations is not surprising," added Korn, who
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