Miller School Maintains Highest Grade for Conflict of Interest Policy

The Miller School of Medicine received an ‘A’ grade for the second year in a row from the American Medical Student Association (AMSA) for its conflict of interest policies governing interactions between students or faculty and health industry entities.

AMSA described the Miller School’s conflict of interest policy as a model, noting that “all outside activities by faculty are disclosed on a publicly accessible website. Samples are prohibited, industry representatives may only meet with faculty by appointment, and compliance and appropriate course of action for violation of policies are outlined.”

In the March 8 release of its annual PharmFree Scorecard, AMSA also acknowledged updates in the Miller School policy, calling a ban on participation in industry-sponsored speakers’ bureaus, which was implemented last year, “a significant improvement.”

The Miller School was the only Florida medical school to receive the top grade last year, and is now one of two in the state to merit the recognition.

“The manner in which we interact with outside entities in the health care industry is critically important to the leadership, faculty, staff and students of the Miller School and UHealth,” said Jorge Guerra, M.D., associate vice president for clinical affairs and chief medical officer for the University of Miami Medical Group. “We remain in the top tier because we continually improve our already strong policy and we are very transparent about how we monitor and maintain the rules we already have. We take conflict of interest very seriously.”

Under the provisions of the Miller School policy, faculty members may not participate in industry-sponsored promotional events, presentations or lectures, and may consult if the activity is not promotional in nature or otherwise excluded by University of Miami Medical Group or University policy.

“A culture of complete transparency is paramount in the relationship of trust we have with our patients and community,” said Pascal J. Goldschmidt, M.D., Senior Vice President for Medical Affairs and Dean of the Miller School, and CEO of the University of Miami Health System. “We strive to make that trust unshakable, and we are proud that AMSA continues to recognize our effort, and the efforts of other leading academic medical centers, to avoid conflicts of interest and provide medical care based solely on the needs of patients.”

In the state of Florida, the University of Florida also received an ‘A’ grade from AMSA, as did such institutions as Harvard, Johns Hopkins, Stanford, the University of Pennsylvania, and Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York.

To participate in the AMSA PharmFree survey, each medical school was required to submit its conflict of interest policy for evaluation on such measures as restrictions on gifts, paid speaking for products, acceptance of drug samples, and industry-funded education. AMSA developed the methodology for the scorecard with the Pew Prescription Project, which works to promote consumer safety through reforms in the approval, manufacture and marketing of prescription drugs.

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