With little fanfare, a small number of prominent academic scientists have made a decision that was until recently all but unheard of. They decided to stop accepting payments from food, drug and medical device companies.
No longer will they be paid for speaking at meetings or for sitting on advisory boards. They may still work with companies. It is important, they say, for knowledgeable scientists to help companies draw up and interpret studies. But the work will be pro bono.
The scientists say their decisions were private and made with mixed emotions. In at least one case, the choice resulted in significant financial sacrifice. While the investigators say they do not want to appear superior to their colleagues, they also express relief. At last, they say, when they offer a heartfelt and scientifically reasoned opinion, no one will silently put an asterisk next to their name.
Yesss! Good job, docs. I want to be sure that when my doctor recommends a drug to me, he or she has not recieved the drug company’s money, or at the very least informs me (though that will, of course, make me very skeptical). No human is perfect, and we are all swayed by the promise of continued infusions of disposable income. The only fix is to take the money out of medicine, and congratulations to these doctors–admirably humble in their stand–for taking the lead.