Partners' New Conflict-Of-Interest Rules

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The New York Times' Duff Wilson reports that two Harvard teaching hospitals, Massachusetts General and Brigham & Women's (both owned by Partners HealthCare) have imposed new restrictions on senior officials who also sit on the boards of pharmaceutical or biotech companies. Wilson asserts that the new "conflict-of-interest" rules are the most restrictive by any academic medical center in capping outside pay from drug companies. He writes:

Senior officials at the two hospitals, Massachusetts General and Brigham and Women’s Hospitals in Boston, must limit their pay for serving as outside directors to what the policy calls “a level befitting an academic role” — no more than $5,000 a day for actual work for the board. Some had been receiving more than $200,000 a year. Also, they may no longer accept stock.

Criticism has been mounting in recent years as the conflicting roles of some medical leaders have been disclosed through Congressional investigations, lawsuits and reports in the news media. Those disclosures have raised questions about bias and the cost and quality of patient care at the nation’s medical institutions.

The report says that Partners is also forbidding speaker’s fees from drug companies for any employee, including nearly 8,000 with Harvard faculty appointments.

This program aired on January 2, 2010. The audio for this program is not available.