Medical Societies Move to Address Ethics

Article excerpt

Fourteen medical specialty societies have signed a voluntary pledge to be more transparent in dealings with pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers and other for-profit companies in the health care field.

The pledge, issued by the Council of Medical Specialty Societies (CMSS), was the result of at least a year of negotiations, said Dr. Allen S. Lichter, who is chair of the CMSS Task Force on Professionalism and Conflict of Interest and the chief executive officer of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO).

"CMSS is committed to encouraging and supporting a culture of integrity, voluntary self-regulation, and transparency," said Dr. James H. Scully Jr., CMSS president and chief executive officer of the American Psychiatric Association. "This code provides a clear benchmark for maintaining integrity and independence."

The societies adopting the CMSS Code for Interactions with Companies agree to establish and publish conflict of interest policies as well as policies and procedures to ensure separation of program development from sponsor influence. They also must disclose corporate contributions, board members' financial relationships with companies, and prohibit financial relationships for key association leaders.

The initial signers included the American Academy of Family Physicians, American Academy of Neurology, American Academy of Ophthalmology, American Academy of Pediatrics, American College of Cardiology, Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education, American College of Emergency Physicians, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, American College of Physicians, American College of Preventive Medicine, American Academy of Physical Medicine and Re habilitation, American College of Radiology, American Society for Radiation Oncology, and ASCO. …