KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Internal Medicine Board Sanctions Doctors For Cheating On Certification Tests; APA To Issue Conflict-Of-Interest Guidelines

The American Board of Internal Medicine has sanctioned 139 doctors for cheating on exams it uses for board certifications, CQ HealthBeat reports. "The board also sued a test prep firm, as well as a handful of doctors viewed as the worst offenders, in federal court." The board alleges that the company encouraged doctors to memorize questions on the board exams and then to e-mail them to the test prep firm after (Norman, 6/10).

In the meantime, The Wall Street Journal reports that the American Psychiatric Association is readying guidelines to curb conflicts of interest after a "a $7.5 million decrease in pharmaceutical-industry dollars over the past year - a more than 10% cut in revenue, which funds its research and education activities. The decrease in revenue means having to cut back on some activities, such as lobbying on behalf of doctors and the mentally ill, and running educational programs in schools and for returning veterans, said Alan Schatzberg, immediate past-president of the APA, who convened a task force to develop conflict-of-interest guidelines that are expected to be unveiled today. … Disclosure rules, codified in new guidelines expected out today, discourage doctors involved in APA policy decisions from accepting industry funds. In order to distinguish promotion from education, industry-sponsored symposia are on their way out and marketing at the group's annual meeting has been limited to the exhibit hall." In the meantime, doctors groups have been facing shortfalls in revenue and are trying to burnish their image as ethical (Wang, 6/11).

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