AMSA takes a deeper look into conflicts of interest as it relates to health policy
Due to the changing landscape of conflicts of interest, it is crucial that we address the overreaching pharmaceutical influence in important sectors such as health policy. For this reason, AMSA will be transitioning the focus for the AMSA Scorecard from medical education to Congress.
We are currently in the process of developing a Congressional Scorecard to understand how conflicts of interest in politics influence health policy and access to medicines. Though the AMSA Scorecard will no longer evaluate the conflict of interest policies in medical training, AMSA commends the medicals schools that have demonstrated excellent conflict of interest policies. We continue to encourage institutions to maintain and strive for high standards for medical education without the interference of financial interests and biases in all clinical and nonclinical settings. See here for press release.
For the past several years, there has been a growing concern by citizens, politicians and health care leaders about the conflicts of interest in medicine. These conflicts of interests have led to an erosion of trust that is the foundation of the doctor-patient relationship. Medical schools and academic medical centers have played a powerful leadership role in setting new standards for the profession.
In 2007 the American Medical Student Association (AMSA) released the first Scorecard to assess medical schools’ policies on conflicts on interest. The Scorecard has been updated over time to monitor for any policy updates that are aimed at decreasing the influence of pharmaceutical and medical device industries on medical trainees. Rigorous and transparent methodology are used to assess medical school policies for the core policy domains in a blinded fashion by multiple reviewers.
The Updated AMSA Scorecard of Conflict-of-Interest Policies: A Survey of U.S. Medical Schools
BMC Medical Education, published August 12, 2016
This article describes the methodological update and impact of revisions to AMSA’s biennial conflict-of-interest (COI) Scorecard. This was the first study to identify schools with COI policies stronger than those recommended in 2008 by the Association of American Medical Colleges. The paper supports the notion that developing more stringent COI policies should be helpful in reducing the influence of pharmaceutical and device industry marketing on both trainees and faculty in American medical schools.
The Scorecard initiative advocates for the removal of conflicts of interest in support of evidence-based rather than marketing-based prescribing practices in medicine. AMSA provides toolkits, educational materials, and training sessions to help medical students advance towards these goals.