The Yale guidelines are meant to preserve and enhance the critical role academic medical centers play in establishing professional standards. Detailed in the February 2006 issue of Academic Medicine, the guidelines go beyond existing recommendations and ban faculty from receiving any form of gift, meal, or free drug sample (for personal use) from industry, and set more stringent standards for the disclosure and resolution of financial conflict of interest in Yale's educational programs.
"The overriding goal of the guidelines is to ensure that the integrity of clinical decision making is not compromised by financial or other personal relationships with industry," said lead author David L. Coleman, M.D., professor and interim chair of Internal Medicine at Yale School of Medicine. Coleman would like the guidelines to promote an effective and ethical partnership between medical schools and the pharmaceutical industry.
The guidelines were developed and refined with extensive faculty input over a 12-month period. It incorporates the input of representatives from several pharmaceutical companies in formulating the guidelines. The Board of Governors of the Yale Medical Group (YMG), a group practice composed of Yale full-time faculty, approved the guidelines in May 2005.
Coleman acknowledges that guidelines alone will not eliminate conflicts of interest. He said it will be important to continue educating faculty and trainees on how to develop and sustain productive and ethical relationships with commercial entities.
"The Yale guidelines are offered as an example of how one medical school has attempted to meet the challenge of maintaining professionalism, integrity and public service," said Coleman. "We will need to monitor the effect of these and other guidelines to evaluate their effectiveness in reducing conflicts and bias in educational programs."
Other authors on the study were Alan E. Kazdin, Lee Ann Miller, Jon S. Morrow, M.D., and Robert Udelsman, M.D.
Citation: Academic Medicine, Vol. 81, No. 2 154-160 (February 2006)
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