This is a few days old now, but the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel's Susanne Rust and John Fauber did a nice expose on the University of Wisconsin-Madison's sweetheart deals between the continuing medical education (CME) program and drug makers:
The newspaper then added its own opinion calling for stricter guidelines: http://www.jsonline.com/news/opinion/42293802.html
There is not much new for regular readers of this blog, but the reporters came up with some pretty blatant cases. Exhibit A was an online course sponsored by UW on smoking cessation. It talked up the drug Chantix as the ideal way to get smokers to quit. The course was bankrolled by Pfizer, Chantix's maker, to the tune of a cool $12.3M, of which UW received $3.5M. Chantix is currently under FDA investigation and is held responsible for 112 deaths since its release in 2006. The online course conveniently leaves out any mention of Chantix's adverse effects. The spokesperson for UW could only come up with the incredibly lame statement that it was all right to leave out these unfriendly facts because "such courses are rarely comprehensive and and designed to meet selected learning objectives."
The fact that UW-Madison has done so little to rein in these excesses is especially sad in light of the Wisconsin medical society's commendably straightforward policy statement on Pharma entanglements, previously posted: http://brodyhooked.blogspot.com/2008/10/wisconsin-medical-society-avoid-drug.html.