Wednesday, December 12, 2007

AMSA's Pharm-Free Campaign; Student Activism at UNC

Anthony Fleg, a medical student at UNC-Chapel Hill, is also the leader of the American Medical Student Assn's Pharm-Free Campaign. He kindly alerted me to several developments, including the updated website for their Campaign:

Anthony and his fellow students have been agitating at their own school to try to limit drug company marketing influence-- see some excellent publicity they gleaned:^1557919

The Public Radio story (first link) has a great interview with ethicist Dr. Philip Rosoff at Duke, who pulled no punches in describing the ethical problems raised by Pharma's influence over academic medicine. The newspaper account (second link) is interesting in featuring an interview with Dr. John Buse, one of the medical faculty at UNC. I recently had occasion to reflect on Dr. Buse's case on this blog:

Not too surprising, Dr. Buse was concerned in his interview about losing the funding the drug companies provide if UNC gets too picky about its ethics.

The Public Radio interview also gave some play to the "report card" that AMSA did of all US medical schools. (They gave their own school, UNC, a "C minus.") Since I have your attention, I will add that we squawked loudly when they gave us an "F" here at University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston; we thought we deserved at least a C-minus by their official criteria--not that that is much to be proud of. All that goes to say is that the "report card" has turned out to be a very useful publicity device--kudos to the students for thinking of it. AMSA can continue to put the rest of organized medicine to shame for the excellent job they are doing on this issue.

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