A Dean of a Medical School on a Drug Company Board ?
Interview About High-Level Conflicts of Interest with Walid Gellad , MD
Walid Gellad, MD, MPH is both assistant professor of medicine and assistant professor of health policy at the University of Pittsburgh and a physician in the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Pittsburgh Healthcare System. He is coauthor of a recent research letter in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) [ Academic Medical Center Leadership on Pharmaceutical Company Boards of Directors, also by Timothy Anderson, MD, Chester Good, MD, MPH and Shravan Dave, BS] that reveals almost all US large drug companies and 40 percent of all drug companies studied have leaders in academic medical centers on their boards. These drug company board members include deans, chief executive officers, department chairs, trustees at academic medical centers, school of pharmacy officials and university presidents.
Your recent JAMA paper exposes shocking industry/academic relationships many would not expect and was covered by the Associated Press, the Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel and a Wall Street Journal blog. What inspired you and your colleagues to investigate this?
There is a lot of talk right now about physician conflicts of interest, whether the discussion is about medical students accepting pens or lunches from the pharmaceutical industry or physician consulting and speaking payments becoming public with the Physician Payment Sunshine Act. Yet the issue of dual leadership--academic medical center leaders serving on pharmaceutical company boards of directors--has not really been addressed. We investigated these relationships for 2012 using publicly available data.