Tuesday, June 16, 2009

New AMSA Scorecard: More Med Schools Adopt Strict Policies on Pharma Influence

Our friends at the Prescription Project tell us that the newest American Medical Student Association (AMSA) scorecard is out giving "grades" to all medical schools for their policies on how much pharmaceutical industry influence is allowed and how much students are taught about the risks of pharmaceutical marketing: http://www.amsascorecard.org/executive-summary

Background: The med students at AMSA get major credit for being the first medical organization to come out with a serious "Pharm free" campaign, at a time when most players on the academic medicine scene were still puttering on about the need to "manage" the "inevitable" conflicts of interest. It was a piece of political genius on their part to realize that there was no better way to get publicity for your cause, and to get the attention of the dean of a med school, than to assign that school an "F" grade on a "report card." A problem, however, was that the first report card was an impressionistic exercise and could easily be dismissed as full of observer bias. Now, enter the Pew Prescription Project. AMSA and Pew teamed up to create a sound methodology for the scorecard and provide a set of reasonably objective criteria.

The Prescription Project now notes with pride that the number of A and B schools has increased and that fully 30 percent of med students nationally are now receiving their education at A or B schools. My own state of Texas seems to get the "most improved" award, due to a couple of factors. There has been tremendous student grass roots effort, at my own school (UTMB) the work of the Pharmaceutical Awareness Group. Also, the UT System decided centrally a little more than a year ago that it was too embarrassing for all their schools to get Fs, and so pressure built on all medical campuses of UT to adopt a policy patterned after the strict policy at Stanford. (You'll see from the scorecard that the 4 Texas med schools that are part of the UT system have an A, two Bs and an I grade; the 4 that are not part of UT rank with a B, D, F, and I respectively.)

1 comment:

Doug Bremner said...

I see that my university Emory got an "I" for not responding in time. Those sluggish Southerners.