Monday, March 12, 2012

Med Schools Improving Their Grades, Students Say

PostScript at Community Catalyst:
--informs us that medical schools continue to improve on the scores they receive from the American Medical Student Association on efforts to reduce pharmaceutical industry influence over education. According to the AMSA scorecard issued last week, two-thirds of the schools now earn an A or B, and several schools have jumped from an F on previous report cards up to a B. The overall ranking shows steady progress each of the last several years.

The "Pharm-Free Score Card" idea that AMSA developed several years ago has proven to be one of the most effective publicity tools to push academic medical centers toward stricter policies on conflict of interest. (The students who dreamed that one up have a career ahead of them in politics as well as in medicine.) When medical school deans saw that their own students gave them an "F" on school policies related to pharmaceutical influence, things happened. It's an interesting and inspiring illustration of how supposedly powerless groups (medical students regard themselves as the very bottom of the food chain in medical centers) can have substantial influence when they approach an issue thoughtfully and persistently.

Lately I have seen indications of COI policies in academic medical centers that even to me, as a strong advocate of eliminating COI, seem overly onerous and burdensome. I have to admit that this would be a great problem to have in the future.

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