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Posted on Tue, Jun 29, 2010 : 12:47 p.m.

University of Michigan medical school to drop funding from drug, device companies

By Tina Reed

Starting next year, the University of Michigan's medical school will become the first to refuse funding for its continuing education courses for doctors from drug and device makers, the New York Times reported.

The move was made to reduce bias of outside interests from the presentation of medical information. The decision to drop commercial financing for postgraduate medical education could mean as much as a $1 million drop in financing at U-M, according to the story.

Earlier this year, U-M medical school officials said they planned to review and improve the medical school's conflict-of-interest policies in the wake of increasing criticism of policies at schools across the U.S.

Last year, a government report found the policies at most of the nation’s universities were too weak, relying on researchers to self-disclose any potential financial conflicts of interest from consulting jobs or relationships with drug and device companies.

Ray Hutchinson, the associate dean for regulatory affairs at the University of Michigan's Medical School, said continuing medical education, speakers’ bureaus where physicians in the field take money for giving information from drug or device makers, as well as other relationships between faculty and industry, were being reviewed.

Tina Reed covers health and the environment for You can reach her at, call her at 734-623-2535 or find her on Twitter @TreedinAA.



Wed, Jun 30, 2010 : 8:20 a.m.

This is Mary Masson, from the U-M Health System Public Relations department. You can read more about U-M's plans at

5c0++ H4d13y

Tue, Jun 29, 2010 : 10:02 p.m.

As a faculty member in the medical school I come into contact with many other faculty from other medical schools. I always ask about conflict of interest issues issues at their institutions. From my informal survey I can tell readers that University of Michigan is far out in front of other academic medical centers when it comes to reducing and eliminating conflicts of interest. I have never talked to anyone at another institution that does it better than we do at UofM. Of course being a leader is great but it still doesn't mean it's perfect. Maybe we'll get to perfect someday.


Tue, Jun 29, 2010 : 5:01 p.m.

This is a good idea but it is just a drop in the bucket of funding from drug companies. The UM is touting how it will stimulate start up companies, the majority of which are involved in drug or diagnostic testing. Drug trials are also a major source of funding in the College of Medicine. This funding warps the research results. As an example, I was involved in a clinical trial of a diagnostic test, which was the sole product of a small start up company. The principal investigator was part owner of the company. The analysis of the data was so warped that I refused to put my name on the article that described the results but this test is now being actively marketed. It is a waste of healthcare dollars and it is a tiny example of what is wrong with company sponsored trials.


Tue, Jun 29, 2010 : 3:14 p.m.

This is so "cut off one's nose to spite one's face." The programs generated by sponsoring independently produced CME helps physicians and their patients way more than the companies. Much to the public's surprise, these programs are actually not biased towards the companies and actually help communicate important information about new drugs. This is just more of the overboard PC mentality at UM.


Tue, Jun 29, 2010 : 2:22 p.m.

Glad to see more science and less marketing.


Tue, Jun 29, 2010 : 2:04 p.m.

I think this is a very good idea and overdue. Too many medical studies have come out across the country from college medical schools (not necessarily Michigan) with methodologies and conclusions biased in favor of pharmaceuticals. When you see that the medical schools are receiving funding from these drug companies, it's not hard to put 2 and 2 together.

Mr. Tibbs

Tue, Jun 29, 2010 : 12:10 p.m.

I don't suppose an intellectual property rights problem, or patent rights has anything to do with this......