Friday, July 24, 2009

Snapshots of ACRE's Meeting

I previously commented on the creation of the new organization, the Association of Clinical researchers and educators (ACRE), claiming to represent the "silent majority" of academic physicians who believe that conflict of interest with industry is a way-overblown problem, and taking a lot of industry cash is just fine (

Our friends over at the Prescription Project were able to attend ACRE's meeting and issued a report:

The group beat up its various villains--interestingly, the media was high on the list; apparently if you don't report stories about conflict of interest, it goes away--and gave a long list of examples of helpful collaborations between academic physicians and industry (without explaining how the proposed COI restrictions would have eliminated or restricted those contacts).

Perhaps unfairly I found myself focusing on this last portion of their meeting summary, as a sad commentary on the intellectual tone of the organization:

Toward the end of the meeting, the presenters seemed to engage in an informal horse-race about their financial disclosure listed in the program. Michael Weber, a professor from SUNY Downstate Medical Center College of Medicine, began his talk this way: “My disclosures are in the booklet, and I’m proud to say my list is longer than anyone else’s.” But when Fogarty got up to the podium, he said he thought he probably had Weber’s list beat.
“I am so conflicted I’ve become un-conflicted,” he said.

Ha ha, mine is bigger than yours--what a great bunch of guys this sounds like.

Note added later 7/24: Danny Carlat also attended the ACRE meeting and provides a more in-depth summary and analysis--I congratulate him on his relative even-handedness:

No comments: