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MedCity morning read, Thursday, March 5

The transformation of a tough 13-page conflict of interest policy into a streamlined two-page version at the University of Minnesota Medical School show how hard it can be to separate industry from academia.

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The transformation of a tough 13-page conflict of interest policy into a streamlined two-page version at the University of Minnesota Medical School show how hard it can be to separate industry from academia, according to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

The initial draft included a provision that required clinical trials subjects to be enrolled by patient advocates as opposed to doctors involved in the study. A particularly controversial change involved a portion that eliminated industry funding for continuing medical education classes.

Originally, the policy would have ended industry support within five years. The new version permits the funding under the rules of a national accrediting organization, according to the newspaper.

“We have no alternative source of funding for it,” Medical School Dean Dr. Deborah Powell told the paper. “As the economy worsens, a lot of the people who take our courses can’t afford to pay the tuition. Our courses are attended by nurses, pharmacists, physicians, and people felt we couldn’t raise the tuition.

“I wish a lot of the controversy had not happened, because I think this process was really important for the school, its faculty and the students,” she said. “But I think we’ve arrived at a good place.”

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