OHSU To Review Doctor-Pharmaceutical Company Payment Policies

Mar 22, 2012

PORTLAND -- Last fall we brought you a story about doctors at Northwest medical schools who get paid to speak on behalf of pharmaceutical companies. Thursday, a task force will convene at Oregon Health and Science University. It will review the medical school’s policy on paid speaking gigs and other industry interactions. Correspondent Austin Jenkins reports.

At Harvard and Stanford medical schools the policy is clear. Faculty may not accept speaking fees from drug companies. At OHSU and the University of Washington, faculty can give paid talks, but with restrictions.

However, last year we found that doctors at OHSU were allowed to deliver drug company PowerPoint presentations. That’s despite an ethics policy that says doctors may not present work that is not their own.

Now OHSU has reconvened a task force to review these policies. Kara Drolet with OHSU’s Integrity Office stopped short of saying the school is moving toward an outright ban on speaking for pay.

“I think part of the review is looking at what sort of help do we need to provide to our faculty to understand what is okay and what is not okay,” Drolet says.

In a recent report card, the American Medical Student Association gave the University of Washington an A grade and OHSU a B for their conflict of interest policies.

At OHSU, Drolet says the policy review comes in advance of a new federal law that requires drug and medical equipment companies to disclose their payments to doctors. Several companies already report this information. It’s routinely updated and made available on a searchable database created by ProPublica, an investigative journalism organization.

Copyright 2012 Northwest News Network