Med School releases final conflicts of interest report

Final recommendations will now be passed to a University-wide committee for review.

Despite being touted as only a draft, a two-page report on Medical School conflicts of interest policy leaked last week has been submitted to the University of Minnesota ad hoc oversight committee for final review. In an e-mail to Medical School faculty, staff and students Thursday morning, Dean Dr. Deborah Powell thanked âÄúall involved in this thoughtful and deliberative process for the time dedicated,âÄù but also acknowledged that the final recommendations âÄúwill not please all.âÄù The final report mirrors the leaked draft report word for word. The Daily previously reported that the University-wide ad hoc committee includes Senior Vice President for Health Sciences Dr. Frank Cerra, Vice President for Research Tim Mulcahy and Powell, among others. âÄúThe final recommendations from the Medical School go to the University-wide committee which will review them in the context of all University policies, âÄù according to a Medical School statement provided by Academic Health Center spokeswoman Molly Portz. âÄúThe final recommendations from that committee which include more than just the Medical School will be shared through the normal University governance process.âÄù Dr. Steven Miles, a professor of medicine in the Center for Bioethics, said some of the language in the new report is a little vague, but on the whole, he considers the new policies a positive change. âÄúWeâÄôre in a fairly dynamic environment where these standards are rapidly changing,âÄù he said. âÄúI would regard these recommendations not as the end of the process, but simply another interim step.âÄù Miles has spoken extensively about the influence of pharmaceutical companies and medical industry over the medical profession. For instance, the number of prescriptions per person increased from 7.9 to 12.4 between 1994 and 2005, according to MilesâÄô lecture slides, and the United States accounts for more than half of the worldâÄôs drug sales. Additionally, industry foots the bill for about half of all drug research in 2005, compared to less than a third funded by National Institutes of Health grants. PowellâÄôs e-mail said the final recommendations âÄúreflect the consensus of this large and complex community of the Medical School.âÄù Final recommendations from the ad hoc committee are expected to be brought before the Board of Regents in April. — Emma L. Carew is a senior staff reporter.