Thanks to some of our friends at the Healthy Skepticism listserv for calling my attention to this recent news item from the BMJ:
The gist of it is that some of the UK medical schools are finding themselves lacking faculty in clinical pharmacology and are filling the gap by inviting in speakers from the drug industry.
The industry folks interviewed insist that they are treating these sessions responsibly and avoiding anything that would give the appearance of promoting their products. (One even said that initially they had brought along lunch and drinks for the students--old habits die hard, I guess--but then realized it sent the wrong message and quit doing so.) To their credit, some of the students have used the sessions to air concerns, such as the failure of the industry to address the therapeutic needs of the developing world.
The obvious concern is not with how the industry speakers act but why medical schools would fall down so badly in their own educational responsibilities to their students so as to have to call on the industry to fill the void.