National Jewish Health Relationships with Industry
National Jewish Health has a longstanding tradition of educating physicians and other healthcare providers in Colorado and throughout the country. As national experts in their fields, National Jewish Health faculty are valued as lecturers for their clinical expertise, experience, and research knowledge. Several NJH faculty give medical education lectures, some of which they are paid for by industry.
These talks cover the burden of disease, and best practices for diagnosis and management of disease. Some also include drug-specific components, such as patient-selection criteria, characteristics of the drug, and drug safety. All the drug-specific content is strictly regulated by the FDA.
National Jewish Health recognizes the potential for conflict of interest in any formal interaction with industry, and has been adjusting its policies for several years to identify, prevent, manage and mitigate any potential conflicts of interests with our faculty and staff, and to provide greater transparency in our interactions with industry.
Most recently, in May 2011, National Jewish Health significantly expanded its annual conflict of interest declaration for faculty and staff to be consistent with Association of American Medical College guidelines, evolving NIH policies, and other academic medical centers throughout the country. Faculty and staff are now required to report compensation of any level from outside sources. Physicians who have a financial relationship with an outside entity must also report if they prescribe any medications made by the company or perform any research funded by the company. These declarations are reviewed by department chairs and the Chief Compliance Officer for any conflict of interest, and a management plan is developed if a conflict is identified.
NJH periodically monitors prescribing patterns of faculty who provide compensated services for industry. We have reviewed the prescribing patterns of these physicians and detected no difference between their prescribing patterns and those of their peers.
All research grants with pharmaceutical industry partners are scrutinized by the department chairs and the institutional review board (IRB). Grants to any investigator with a potential or identified conflict of interest are reviewed additionally by the Chief Compliance Officer. An appropriate conflict-of-interest management plan is developed for the investigator and reviewed by the IRB.
National Jewish Health has an existing policy that governs acceptable interactions with pharmaceutical and medical device companies. As part of its ongoing process to increase transparency and reduce an potential conflict of interest, National Jewish Health has been reviewing and revising its Conflict of Interest Policy for the past year. We have sought input from a variety of sources including external community members on our Ethics Committee, the American Association of Medical Colleges and newly adopted NIH regulations that relate to potential conflicts of interest. Final additions and revisions are now being made.
The policy contains the following key revisions:
- Faculty or staff may not accept or use anypersonal gifts from representatives of industry regardless of the nature ordollar value of the gift.
- Faculty and staff who receive compensation fromindustry for lectures sponsored by industry are required to follow theseguidelines:
a) Financial support byindustry must be fully disclosed by the speaker.
b) The content of thelecture, slides, or educational handouts must be determined by the speaker andnot the industry sponsor.
c) The lecture is expectedto be a fair and balanced assessment of therapeutic options and to promoteobjective scientific and educational discourse.
d) Product or sales promotionaltalks are prohibited.
e) Compensation forservices shall be at fair market value.
Looking forward, we are working to publiclydisclose all relationships between our faculty and industry, includingcompensation for services rendered, on our Web site. This development effort isunderway.