Sunday, May 30, 2004

Harvard Medical amends conflict-of-interest policies

Trend-setter Harvard Medical School has amended its conflict policy for researchers, acording to an article in The Boston Globe.
Under the policy, Harvard faculty cannot own more than $30,000 in stock from public companies that benefit from their research, a $10,000 increase from the previous limit. They cannot have any stock from companies with which they have ongoing research collaborations. In addition, faculty members cannot own stock in private companies related to their research. But faculty can receive up to $20,000 in consulting fees from companies tied to their research, also a $10,000 increase from the previous limit. . . .

Until now, faculty could not hold upper management jobs in firms. The new policy extends this prohibition to include the positions of chief scientific officer and chief medical officer, slots Harvard faculty occasionally accept.

The new policy was crafted by Harvard medical dean Dr. Joseph B. Martin, in consultation with several faculty committees. He noted that some faculty members argued for looser rules that would foster increased interaction with Boston's vibrant biotechnology and pharmaceutical communities.

''The issues that some individuals raised were set aside for two reasons: that we need to protect human subjects in research . . . and that there not be any perception of bias in research work," he said.

But of faculty collaborations with industry, Martin said: ''We encourage it in every possible way." The increase in the stock and consulting limits, said Martin, reflected what he thought ''responsible people ought to be able to take in."
The Office of Public Health and Science at HHS published its own guidance on this subject on May 12.
posted by tommayo, 10:16 AM

Health care law (including public health law, medical ethics, and life sciences), with digressions into constitutional law, poetry, and other things that matter