Infighting at the American Society for Hypertension over pharma influence

This is interesting--the American Society of Hypertension is so splintered over the potential for pharma influence that its journal defected to another office! Check out the full story in the Boston Globe (I'm pretty sure it's free for nonsubscribers for at least a few days).

Disagreements have flared over industry money used to support the hypertension society's educational programs, as well as the propriety of direct industry payments to physicians who serve as lecturers and consultants. The hypertension organization requires doctors participating in speaking programs to reveal the payments, but does not require them to disclose amounts.

The saddest part is the last line: "All medical societies rely heavily on industry sponsorship, [Dr. Michael A. Weber, a leading figure and past president of the society] said. ''Otherwise we wouldn't exist," he said.

Are we coming to a tipping point in the near future, where pharma gets out of the CME picture (and medical societies, and med schools, etc.) altogether? If so, who's going to pay for all the education and research pharma currently underwrites? I don't have any answers, but with these kinds of rifts becoming more common, I can't help but wonder if a seismic shift in the industry may be coming. Probably not, though, and we'll continue to muddle through trying to figure out what "resolve all conflicts of interest" really means.

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