Monday, December 20, 2010

From ProPublica: Do Med Centers Follow Up on Their Own Guidelines?

From those pesky investigative reporters over at ProPublica:

If any of you wanted to become investigative reporters, here's how you do it.
  1. Find out which prestigious medical centers have new conflict of interest guidelines that prohibit their faculty from being a part of drug companies' speakers' bureaus.
  2. Look on the new ProPublica database that combines the data released by all companies that have done so, on which physicians are paid by them as speakers.
  3. Count the number of docs from each of those prestigious centers, and how much they raked in as paid shills.
  4. Stir and serve immediately.
The bottom line is that each medical center seems to have expected that this would all be on the honor system--that once they enacted their new guidelines, they'd be self-enforcing because all their faculty would immediately obey the new rules. Some deans seemed quite surprised and disappointed that it does not seem to work that way. And most seemed willing to admit that if the ProPublica guys could find out this information on a freely accessible website, then maybe the medical centers could too.

The ProPublica database, by the way, is at

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