Drug-Pushing and Bribery at the American Academy of Neurology

Submitted by Wajid Sayeed on May 14, 2012 - 23:08

I recently returned from a university-sponsored junket to New Orleans, where I attended the 2012 meeting of the American Academy of Neurology.  I learned a few things, met a few people of interest to me, and took a stroll or two through the displays in between sessions. In one (smaller) hall, there were daily displays of posters from academic institutions all over the world. In the larger hall (at the very back of which we were served a soggy and repetitive lunch), scenes like these were to be beheld:

Novartis, makers and patent-holders of the first oral MS therapy to date, provided a helpful disclaimer:

Outside the exhibit hall, representatives of BrainPAC were ready to take your donation.

"What do you use the money for?"

"The money is used to make donations to various Congressmen and Senators, in exchange for which they meet with us and listen to our issues."

Ah, Democracy!

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It would be interesting to figure out what the Canadian policy is on this. It seems to me that policies here are university-specific rather than provincial or national. Do you know what the deal is?

Things seems to vary within institutions. For instance, here in Manitoba, the Department of Medicine forbids drug company sponsorship, but the Section of Cardiology has exempted itself from the rules, while the School of Pharmacy seems to actively seek sponsorship from Big Pharma, with buildings and lecture theatres named after major industry players.