This news story is part of our week-long discussion around the theme of communication: how to speak to specific healthcare communities, and best practices for pharma executives.
By Leah Warner
The commercial interests of pharmaceutical companies continue to remain under scrutiny as evidenced by the recent announcement of the Council of Medical Specialty Societies (CMSS) “Code for Interactions with Companies.
The CMSS officially adopted the code on April 17, 2010. This was the result of a request from CEOs of the CMSS member organizations to put forth a code of conduct for Medical Specialty Societies to “enhance professionalism, and to disclose, manage, and resolve relationships with industry. A Task Force on Professionalism and Conflicts of Interest was formed to develop the Code that consists of the following 10 key Principles of Interaction outlining acceptable practices between Societies and for-profit companies:
1. Independence: Development of educational activities, scientific programs, products and services should remain independent of company influence.
2. Transparency: Conflicts of interest will be made available to society members and the public.
3. Accepting Charitable Contributions: All charitable contributions must be aligned with the strategic priorities and mission of the organization.
4. Accepting Corporate Sponsorships: Corporate sponsorships are permitted only if the program is aligned with the strategic mission/vision of the organization.
5. Society Meetings: Must comply with ACCME Standards of Commercial Support and seek to identify and manage conflicts of interest.
6. Awarding of Research Grants: Companies may not select or influence the selection of recipients of research grants.
7. Clinical Practice Guidelines: To be based on scientific evidence only and will not permit direct Company support for development or initial distribution.
8. Society Journals: Will maintain editorial independence from the Society and advertisers.
9. Standards of Advertising: Societies will set written standards for advertising.
10. Standards of Licensing: Societies will set written standards for licensing aimed at preventing misuse and modification of licensed materials.
The code is voluntary for all MSS, however, those societies that sign the code will be recognized on the CMSS web site and are expected to adopt as many of the practices as quickly as possible and set a reasonable timeline to institute all practices. Those societies that choose not to sign the code will also be identified on the CMSS web site.
This is yet another measure, similar to Pharma code to ensure there is a clear separation between the commercial interests of pharmaceutical companies and scientific interests of professional medical associations.