Dispatch: Thou Shalt Not Accept Free Pens

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A new code of ethics announced yesterday by the Council of Medical Specialty Societies seeks to limit the influence of medical drug and device makers over patient care. The Associated Press mentions a few of the new standards: “No more letting industry help pay for developing medical guidelines. Restrictions on consulting deals. And no more pens with drug company names or other swag at conferences.”

“This is just a continuation of a theme we’ve been talking about here for over a year,” says Dr. Whelan. “It’s part of the holier-than-thou attitude that industry funded science is automatically corrupt. This whole movement runs counter to our belief that the private sector and industry and academia should be working together. The idea that scientists shouldn’t be able to accept a pen is ludicrous.”

“There have been a few scandals over the years where researchers apparently violated ethical precepts,” says Dr. Ross, “but to declare all of a sudden that no study or drug trial can be considered valid or pure if there is any industry support behind it contradicts all of the progress and innovation achieved by industry funded science over the years, and it could definitely stifle innovation in the future.”