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April 1, 1998

Disclosure Policies for Gifts From Industry to Academic Faculty

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Clinical Pharmacy, Institute for Health Policy Studies, San Francisco Cochrane Center, and the Chancellor's Advisory Panel on Relations With Industry, University of California, San Francisco.

JAMA. 1998;279(13):1031-1032. doi:10.1001/jama.279.13.1031

The relationships between academic institutions and bioscientific companies are common, complex, and under increasing scrutiny. In this issue of JAMA, Campbell and colleagues1 present the latest article in their series of studies that have explored university-industry relationships. In earlier studies, this group discussed potential conflicts of interest related to receipt of grants and contracts from industry.2,3 About one half of the companies surveyed in these previous studies supported research at universities through grants.2 In their present article, Campbell and colleagues report on gifts received by faculty at 50 universities. Types of gifts include discretionary funds, biomaterials, support for students, research equipment, and trips to professional meetings.1 Almost half of the faculty surveyed received gifts. The faculty perceived that these gifts were frequently accompanied by restrictions, including prepublication review of manuscripts and loss of university patent rights. Considering that gifts are often not subjected to the same university oversight as grants or contracts, the authors suggest that general guidelines concerning gifts are necessary.