Report: Med-school doctors on drug firms' lecture circuit

Doctors at some medical schools have accepted lucrative payments from drug firms for giving lectures despite policies forbidding the practice, according to a new report.

The ProPublica report found that doctors at 12 medical schools violated conflict-of-interest policies that prevent them from giving talks for drug firms, which can earn them tens of thousands of dollars each year. ProPublica uncovered the payments by comparing names of faculty members at 12 medical schools with a database of payments publicly reported by seven drug companies.

Critics say that by giving talks for drug companies, faculty can send the wrong message to students because the firms usually control the content of the lecture. Defenders of the practice told ProPublica that the events are educational.

The University of Pennsylvania, the University of Pittsburgh, the University of Colorado-Denver and others have launched internal reviews, the report said. According to the report, 70 drug companies in the United States don’t disclose the payments, indicating that the practice is probably more widespread than what ProPublica uncovered.