Time to Loosen Left's Grip on Medical Schools; Regulations on Trainee Access to Drug Information Can Hurt Quality of Care

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), October 13, 2011 | Go to article overview
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Time to Loosen Left's Grip on Medical Schools; Regulations on Trainee Access to Drug Information Can Hurt Quality of Care


Byline: Dr. Jason D. Fodeman, SPECIAL TO THE WASHINGTON TIMES

From Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's remarks at Columbia University to Harvard's lengthy cold shoulder to the ROTC program, the issue of bias at our nation's academic institutions is by no means a new one.

Research from George Mason University has better quantified this problem, concluding that the ratio of tenure-track faculty registered as Democrats to those registered as Republicans across all departments at 11 California universities was an astonishing 5-1. This same bias dominates our nation's medical schools and academic medical centers as well.

Some might find the immersion of an agenda into medical schools quite surprising. After all, while the average English 101 class can easily reflect the personal opinions of the professor and his respective institution, material as seemingly objective as biochemistry or endocrinology would appear to be above politics as usual.

Yet even in a web of pathophysiology, human anatomy and countless disease syndromes, at many medical schools, one does not need a microscope to notice an anti-industry and pro-preventive-medicine bias peeking through the curriculum.

Certainly, health care policy and the structure of the nation's health care system are fair game for debate in medical school. The problem, in my experience, is there never was any debate.

The curriculum routinely presented one view of the problems and solutions related to health care. Professors would offer their personal views as fact and would fail to acknowledge the existence of alternate perspectives. At times, one would wonder if those putative teachings were actually designed to educate young, malleable minds or mold them like putty. In medical schools, this one-sided view also limits opportunities to engage in debate outside of the classroom.

The course material is by no means unbiased, as the professors often portray it. Yes, the relationship between doctors and drug companies needs to be researched, but which regulations are appropriate is an important issue.

The question is, with whom should pharmaceutical researchers consult when conducting research on innovative new drugs that may prolong and improve the lives of thousands suffering from debilitating illnesses if they make it through the long and complicated Food and Drug Administration approval process?

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Time to Loosen Left's Grip on Medical Schools; Regulations on Trainee Access to Drug Information Can Hurt Quality of Care
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