Letters Section Editor: Stephen J. Lurie,
MD, PhD, Senior Editor.
In Reply: We agree with Dr Egilman and Mr Ehrle
that many trustees, presidents, chancellors, provosts, deans, and department
chairpersons—all examples of persons whom we have termed "institutional
decision makers"—have developed extensive ties with industry. They misinterpret
our recommendations, however, as to "manage" rather than to "eliminate" the
financial conflicts of interest of institutional decision makers. For instance,
we distinguished the research-related financial interests of institutional
review board members and institutional decision makers from those of the institution
itself. We believe that while there are legitimate justifications for permitting
institutions to derive certain income from research (such as through licensing
agreements with industry), no legitimate justifications exist for allowing
review board members or institutional decision makers to possess significant
financial interests in the research they are responsible for overseeing.
Barnes M, Florencio PS, Johns MME. Handling Conflicts of Interest Between Industry and Academia. JAMA. 2003;289(24):3240. doi:10.1001/jama.289.24.3240-a