The Lincoln Memorial University-DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine opened its doors less than two years ago, but in recent weeks it has been getting press in The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post and The New York Times. The articles concern a Lincoln Memorial professor who exposed conflicts of interest in an article published by the The Journal of the American Medical Association and subsequently provoked the wrath of JAMA's editors for spreading his story to the media and another journal. Charges that the editors sought to intimidate Lincoln Memorial officials have prompted an investigation by the American Medical Association's oversight committee, and the university has garnered some newfound name recognition in the world of academic medicine.
U.S. Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) has hardly lacked for targets in his campaign against conflicts of interest in biomedical science and academic research. But a study published Wednesday in the April issue of Academic Medicine suggests potential problems in an area that has largely escaped Grassley's scrutiny so far -- among the members of institutional boards that review research at medical schools and academic medical centers. The study, based on a survey of more than 200 chairs of such review boards, found that a third of IRBs at those institutions did not require voting members to disclose their relationships with pharmaceutical companies or other industry representatives -- even though national groups have urged such reporting and the relationships, in practice, were reported in a majority of cases.