Dissecting a new ethics code

This dissection by Dr. Carlat of the new Code for Interactions with Companies issued by The Council of Medical Specialty Societies is  very entertaining and informative.  

Many times both medical societies and medical corporations have issued new codes  and somehow questionable activities find a way to operate.

from the Carlat Psychiatry Blog 


The Council of Medical Specialty Societies just announced a new Code for Interactions with Companies. They have received good press so far. According to AP, “It’s the most sweeping move ever taken by the Council of Medical Specialty Societies to curb conflict of interest…”

But The Carlat Psychiatry Blog has just obtained a disturbing highly classified Q&A document leaked by a mole within the Council. Or maybe we just made the thing up. Read the following excerpt, and you can decide.

Q: Are there any provisions here that are going to significantly decrease the income we receive from drug companies?

A: Not at all. You can still receive all the drug company money you want for educational programs, “charitable” contributions to doctors, and research grants. The only semi-meaningful restriction we’ve added here is on funding for practice guidelines committees, but we even developed a work-around for that, which we can explain later.

Q: That’s good news. But I’m still a little nervous. I mean, this new code is a 25 page document, with dozens of elaborately numbered rules. There must be something in there that will change business as usual. Please reassure me that I’m wrong.

A: Don’t worry, be happy! Yes, we know the Code looks long and serious, but we were simply following the advice of our PR consultants (on loan from one of our sponsoring drug companies), who taught us about the first rule of advertising: “The more you tell the more you sell.” We learned that if you want to sell a product that actually has very little added value, you can’t just say, “Here’s my product.” Instead, you have to add a whole bunch of other stuff along with your offer, stuff that doesn’t actually add information content, but that keeps your audience engaged and focused on your product. That’s why we created this 25 page document, even though all the actual new regulations could have fit into a single paragraph…

much much more via The Carlat Psychiatry Blog: Medical Societies’ New Ethics Code: Secret Q&A Document Revealed.


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