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Physician–Industry Relations. Part 2: Organizational Issues

Susan L. Coyle, PhD, Ethics and Human Rights Committee, American College of Physicians–American Society of Internal Medicine*
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From the American College of Physicians–American Society of Internal Medicine, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.


*This paper was written by Susan L. Coyle, PhD, and was developed by the American College of Physicians–American Society of Internal Medicine (ACP-ASIM) Ethics and Human Rights Committee. Members of the ACP-ASIM Ethics and Human Rights Committee were William E. Golden, MD (Chair); David W. Potts, MD (Vice Chair); Harmon H. Davis II, MD; David A. Fleming, MD; Susan Dorr Goold, MD; Vincent E. Herrin, MD; Jay A. Jacobson, MD; Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, MD, MBA (Past Chair); Joanne Lynn, MD; and Daniel P. Sulmasy, OFM, MD, PhD. Lois Snyder, JD, Director of ACP-ASIM's Center for Ethics and Professionalism, provided principal staff support. This paper was approved by the ACP-ASIM Board of Regents on 15 July 2001.

Requests for Single Reprints: Susan L. Coyle, PhD, Center for Ethics and Professionalism, American College of Physicians–American Society of Internal Medicine, 190 N. Independence Mall West, Philadelphia, PA 19106-1572.


Ann Intern Med. 2002;136(5):403-406. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-136-5-200203050-00015
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This is part 2 of a 2-part paper on ethics and physician-industry relationsips. Part 1 offers advice to individual physicians; part 2 gives recommendations to medical education providers and medical professional societies.Industry often sponsors programs for graduate and continuing medical education, as well as major events of medical professional societies. Industry is an abundant source of advances in medicine and technology and plays a crucial role in disseminating up-to-date medical information. Although industry information fills an important need, studies suggest that it is often biased.Providers of graduate and continuing medical education have a duty to present objective and balanced information to their participants; thus, they should not accept any funds that are contingent on a sponsor's ability to shape programming. Medical educators need to evaluate and control the planning, content, and delivery of education provided under their auspices. They should disclose industry sponsorship to students, faculty, and continuing medical education participants and should adopt explicit organizational policies about acceptable and unacceptable interactions with industry.Medical professional societies have a duty to promote the independent judgment and professionalism of their members. Organizers of industry-sponsored meetings should clearly separate product promotion from impartial medical education. Adopting specific policies for dealing with industry sponsorship can also help professional societies guard against outside influence. The American College of Physicians–American Society of Internal Medicine's core ethical principles for external funding and relationships serve as an example.

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