Author Affiliation: Dr DeAngelis is Editor, JAMA.
This issue of THE JOURNAL contains a cluster of articles that address
students', residents', and faculty members' conflicts of interest with pharmaceutical
and other companies that financially sponsor teaching and research. Why is
this important? University-based educators and researchers, as well as private
practitioners, are in frequent contact with representatives from for-profit
companies that provide "gifts" and financial support for teaching and research.
The enticement begins very early in a physician's career: for my classmates
and me, it started with black bags. Dr Kassirer's colleague1
is not alone in remembering which pharmaceutical company provided them. The
timing of presenting the black bags early in our first year was wonderfully
strategic, as was the inscription of our names on each. I must admit I was
very happy to finally have a real symbol of the medical profession after so
many hours of what seemed like year 5 of college. It took me a few days to
come back to reality and store the bag in my closet. I'm not sure what happened
to it, but I never carried it after that first day. On the other hand, at
that time I did not have the courage to publicly state my unease with the
DeAngelis CD. Conflict of Interest and the Public Trust. JAMA. 2000;284(17):2237–2238. doi:10.1001/jama.284.17.2237
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