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September 9, 1998

Corporate Gifts to Academic Researchers

Author Affiliations

Margaret A.WinkerMD, Senior EditorIndividualAuthorPhil B.FontanarosaMD, Senior EditorIndividualAuthor

JAMA. 1998;280(10):883-884. doi:10-1001/pubs.JAMA-ISSN-0098-7484-280-10-jac80015

To the Editor.—Dr Campbell and colleagues1 highlight the potential conflicts of interest that reside in innocuous-appearing gifts from industry to university researchers and encourage the use and revision of institutional policies by faculty. As Dr Bero2 points out in the accompanying Editorial, one major problem with this approach is different perceptions as to what constitutes a conflict. Although Bero refers to disagreements between basic and clinical researchers, there are other relevant stakeholders. In a recent study by Gibbons et al,3 patients tended to view pharmaceutical company gifts to physicians as far more alarming and as posing a significantly greater conflict of interest than did physicians. The potential for such differing perceptions argues for making the goals of any policy as clear and as explicit as possible and for encouraging academic-industry research relationships primarily in areas where the 2 interests are clearly aligned.

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