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Translation of a-t 2019; 50: 115
 

IN BRIEF

Policies on conflicts of interest are missing at German medical schools

The training of doctors should be free of bias due to commercial interests. The lack of importance that medical faculties in Germany attach to this matter is shown in a study carried out by committed university students: Out of 38 medical faculty deaneries contacted in writing about policies relating to the handling of conflict of interest, only 16 (42%) replied despite being contacted several times. Only 4 sent policies, 3 of which concerned university medical centres only and not the medical faculties, and therefore were not evaluated further. The authors found one further applicable policy via the websites of the medical faculties. Those two policies only partly fulfil the restrictive criteria specified in advance,* that relate to both students and teachers - who should in fact serve as positive role models. None of the medical faculty deaneries reports curricular teaching on conflict of interest (1), even though graduates should be able, according to the catalogue of educational objectives, to explain and reflect the various interests under which their activities take place. To protect students from unauthorized and undetectable influence, publically available standards are urgently required on how to deal with conflict of interest at medical schools, -Ed.

1GRABITZ, P. et al.: Conflict of Interest Policies at German medical schools - A long way to go, online publication 18 Oct 2019 (15 pages); http://www.a-turl.de/?k=lasc
2Evaluation criteria, dated Jan 2018; http://www.a-turl.de/?k=runk
* Investigations included regulations relating to exertion of influence by industrial corporations through gifts, meals, CME (continuing medical education) events, advertising events, scholarships and awards, via consulting relationships, lecturing for advertising purposes, ghost-writing as well as regulations on declaration of conflict of interest and teaching about conflicts of interest and implementation of the policies (2).

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