Eli Lilly recently became the first big drug maker to post a so-calledregistry of payments made to doctors for several reasons, mostly speaking engagements. And it so happens that five Dartmouth Medical School professors were listed in the registry for payment they received for health care professional education work and advising activities, The Dartmouth News reports.
Douglas Noordsy, Craig Donnelly, Robert Santulli and Jeffrey Fetter - who serve as psychiatrists either at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center or New Hampshire Hospital - received $35,500, $30,250, $9,300 and $6,300, respectively, during this year's first quarter of 2009, the paper writes. And DMS professor Richard Rubin, who heads the Vermont Clinical Study Center, Vt., received $15,000.
However, faculty members are limited to accepting $30,000 or 10 percent of their salary in compensation, according to DHMC spokesman Jason Aldous, although he says exceptions can be made on a case-by-case basis. “We see no evidence that our policy has been broken,” Aldous tells the paper, when asked about one doctor who had received over $30,000 from Eli Lilly. It's not clear, though, if exceptions were made and, if so, why. And if not, then isn't $35,500 more than $30,000?
Faculty must contact their department chair and the Hitchcock Foundation, which manages research funding and fellowships at DHMC, prior to entering in any sort of “professional relationship,” Aldous continues, adding that the Hitchcock Foundation also oversees changes to professional service agreements that may occur over time. DHMC conflict of interest policy also applies to DMS faculty members who practice or teach at the medical center.
Dartmouth College researchers are also subject to rules about involvement with drug makers, vice provost for research Martin Wybourne tells the paper. Faculty often work with drug makers and are required to disclose their involvement to the College, he adds. Dartmouth also has a policy, enacted in 2007, that prohibits drug company reps from visiting campus.
“Issues around conflict of interest are something that we and our colleagues at the medical school have been actively looking at for some time and will continue to look at, on an ongoing basis,” Aldous tells the paper. Santulli and Fetter declined to comment when contacted by The Dartmouth. Noordsy, Donnelly and Rubin could not be reached for comment, the paper writes.