UC Davis School of Medicine recognized for strong conflict-of-interest policies
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The UC Davis School of Medicine ranks among the top medical schools on the 2012 American Medical Student Association (AMSA) PharmFree Scorecard, a national assessment of medical school policies governing how the pharmaceutical industry interacts with faculty and students.
UC Davis received an "A" rating on the scorecard, which it has received every year since AMSA established the scorecard in 2007. Of the 152 U.S. medical schools and colleges of osteopathic medicine included in the report, 28 received As (18 percent) 74 Bs (49 percent), 15 Cs (10 percent), and 13 Ds (9 percent) and 9 Fs (6 percent).
The AMSA PharmFree Scorecard uses letter grades to assess a school's performance in 11 potential areas of conflict, including gifts and meals from industry to doctor; paid promotional speaking for industry; acceptance of free drug samples; interaction with sales representatives and industry; and funded education. It offers a comprehensive look at the current and changing landscape of conflict-of-interest policies across American medical education, as well as more in-depth assessment of individual policies that govern industry interaction. The report included 98 percent of all eligible medical institutions in the United States.
UC Davis's policies scored highest in six specific domains AMSA assessed , including policies related to acceptance of gifts and meals from industry; limiting pharmaceutical samples accepted; individuals with financial conflicts participating in university purchasing decisions; financial support for attending industry-sponsored lectures and meetings (off-campus); industry support for scholarships and trainee funds; and inclusion of education about conflict of interest within the academic curriculum. The report also noted the presence of oversight and sanctions for noncompliance, although these factors were not included in the grade calculation.
Other schools receiving an A grade included UCLA, UC San Francisco, UC Irvine and UC San Diego, which adopted strong policies modeled after those first introduced at UC Davis, as well as the University of South Dakota Sanford School of Medicine, Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York and the University of Pennsylvania.
According to AMSA, the PharmFree Scorecard reflects the growing public outcry over conflicts of interest, both real and perceived, that are occurring throughout the health-care industry. The organization notes the increasing concerns among the public, policymakers and medical professionals focused on the potential for these conflicts to influence medical care, with profit potentially taking precedence over the interests of patients. A major part of the national discussion aims to balance the benefits of industry partnerships with the risks of industry marketing adversely impacting medical care, clinical research and medical education.