The Pew Charitable Trusts’ Pew Prescription Project recently released a series of recommendations it believes will ensure transparency in physician-industry relationships and reduce or manage conflicts of interest in academic medical centers. Among them: Medical schools, with “rare exceptions,” should not accept commercial support for continuing medical education; and faculty, students, and trainees should not attend or speak at pharmaceutical, biotechnology, or medical device company promotional meetings.

In addition, other than meals, it recommends that faculty and trainees should not accept any gifts from industry; and at CME activities, even food and beverage should not be accepted.

The Pew report goes on to say recommend that faculty and trainees be allowed to consult with pharma or other life sciences companies for scientific and research purposes, but not for marketing projects. They also should disclose all relevant financial COIs to other faculty and trainees, as well as patients and the public.

The report acknowledges that the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America has already covered much of this ground with its PhRMA Code, and that many medical schools and medical centers have already adopted their own policies to govern potential COI. But these recommendations are needed, the report says, because “While institutions can set guidelines and provide a level of oversight and enforcement, it is not clear that these are sufficient to change an individual’s behavior, much of which can occur outside of the institution’s purview.”