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Nissen's criticism of the other group, the cardiology college, scored a hit, however. While noting the group is the gold standard for avoiding industry conflicts, he said it granted continuing medical education credits for a seminar sponsored by Merck in which an experimental Merck drug was touted. All four faculty members for the session consult for Merck.
"That is wrong. It shouldn't happen," admitted the college's chief executive officer, Dr. Jack Lewin. "We can do better than that."
The flap caused a stir at the conference and riled doctors and industry members alike. Dr. Robert Harrington, head of heart research at Duke University, who also spoke at the session, said scientists and professional societies need to do more to have "firewalls" to protect their work from corporate influence. However, most research in the United States is paid for by industry, and fair and ethical partnerships are needed to develop treatments, he said.
"While it's easy to say all of this should be funded by the NIH, that's not the reality," Harrington said.
On the Net:
Cardiology conference: http://www.acc.org/
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