Partners HealthCare, the Boston hospital system that includes some of Harvard Medical School's most prominent teaching institutions, is turning over a new leaf on industry's financial influence over doctors.
Starting this year, doctors who serve as board members for drugmakers and biotech companies can't make more than $5,000 a day for doing so, the New York Times reports.
That may sound like a rich payday, but some doctors working for Partners, which includes Massachusetts General and Brigham and Women's Hospitals, were making more than $200,000 a year and getting company stock for their work. Taking shares as compensation is also a new no-no.
Those moves put the Harvard-affiliated hospitals at the head of the academic medicine pack. As legendary cardiologist and Harvard professor Eugene Braunwald told the Times, "We're the first to go in this deep, and we're still into it only up to our knees."
Partners' new rules on financial conflicts also prohibit doctors employees from moonlighting speaking on a company's behalf to other doctors, the Boston Globe reports. These so-called "speaker's bureaus'' have become a mainstay of marketing by drugmakers in recent years. The content of the talks is scripted and controlled by the companies.
Partners is following some other academic centers that have stiffened rules on that score, including Johns Hopkins and Stanford.
The policy changes at Partners stem from an in-depth look at conflicts detailed in a report last April, which you can read here.