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Doctors Debate Role of Industry Money In Funding Physician Education

Lawyers who bring claims for persons hurt by defective medical devices and drugs have long known that both industries provide significant funds—to the tune of 1.2 billion dollars—to finance continuing legal education for doctors. We also know that pharmaceutical and medical device companies sponsor educational programs for doctors that highlight their products with paid though leaders —physicians hand-picked by industry—as presenters at these programs. But some doctors and medical schools are finally saying enough is enough—no more industry money.

The New York Times reports today that the University of Michigan Medical School has become the first medical institution to no longer accept industry money to fund physician education programs. Dr. James O. Wolliscraft, Dean, cited the schools desire to have education that is free from bias and based on the best scientific evidence. The schools policy announcement was greeted with support, howls of dissent and calls that the move was still insufficient to remove the taint of Big Pharma and Medical Device money from physician education.