Canadian med schools allowing conflicts of interest

A new study published in PLOS One looks at pharmaceutical industry activities and influences on universities in Canada and conflict of interest policies in Canadian medical schools, and finds COI policies “Too Few, Too Weak.” Lead author Adrienne Shnier is tracking ensuing media coverage on her website. The Toronto Star has published a story on it:

With “restrictive” policies in all but three categories, Western University was ranked No. 1.

In more than half of all schools, however, the researchers found that policies were either “permissive” or nonexistent in most categories. The worst offender was the recently established Northern Ontario School of Medicine (NOSM) in Sudbury, followed by the University of Alberta and Queen’s University.

“Most people don’t expect that the biggest schools in the country and the most influential schools in the country actually scored some of the lowest (scores),” said Shnier. “That’s problematic . . . because when you see a diploma on the wall in a physician’s office from one of these reputable schools, you expect that they’ve received a balanced education.”