Association for Medical Ethics January 5, 2009

AME Encourages Obama Team for Full Disclosure In Medicine

ORANGE, CA. --- January 5, 2009 -- The Association for Medical Ethics (AME, today released their comprehensive guidelines for the AME Ethical Rules of Disclosure. In June of 2008, the Association for Medical Ethics in conjunction with the University of California, Irvine, School of Medicine, hosted a symposium on Ethics where experts from industry, government and academia gathered from around the country to participate in the day-long event. It was from this seminar and subsequent meetings that the AME Ethical Rules of Disclosure were drafted.

"This symposium was the first time that experts from industry, government and academia, both physicians and ethicists, have come together with the purpose of addressing the issue of disclosure in medicine. AME believes the key to medical reform is the clear and full disclosure of any and all money received from industry by those doctors and others that influence medicine by either their research and opinions, or in their editorial and medical society leadership roles," said AME President and University of California, Irvine, Clinical Professor, Dr. Charles Rosen. "No one is opposed to physicians or researchers receiving any amount of money legitimately from industry. However, FULL disclosure of this is absolutely crucial in order to determine whether data has independent validity or not, which is a critical concept in science that helps ensure the integrity of research."

Dr. Rosen continued, "These guidelines will be presented to President-elect Barack Obama's team for consideration in his medical reform policies. We strongly believe that the fastest way for significant medical reform in this country is full financial disclosure by those who are in a position of trust, namely the physician."

The guidelines for disclosure are based on the following principles:

  • Good medicine and science depend on minimizing bias.
  • Financial ties and financial incentives present compelling interests that may result in unintentional bias, and potentially intentional bias.
  • Even where financial conflicts do not result in bias, the integrity of science and medicine is at risk because of the potential perception that bias may have occurred.
  • Because of the risks of real or perceived bias, transparency regarding financial interests is critical for clinicians, scientists, and the public to weigh the validity of research findings, policy decisions, and practice guidelines developed by professional medical societies.
  • Academicians with or without tenure, editorial board members, and medical society officers are looked to by the public, academics, and fellow physicians as a source of unbiased scientific data and education. Therefore, they should have no Substantive Financial Interest that creates unacceptable conflicts. Substantive Financial Interest is defined as receipt of greater than $50,000 from industry in one calendar year.
  • All scientists and clinicians should publicly disclose in all publications and presentations the precise nature and amount of any financial conflicting interest exceeding $500 per calendar year.

"AME is in support of President-elect Obama's overall views on health care, but feel his team needs to continue to define disclosure," said Dr. Rosen. "Many times medical associations and even editors at esteemed medical journals consider a "limited" disclosure as adequate. At many of these journals and associations, there is often no disclosure or differentiation between receipt of $10,000 or $1,000,000. Often times only the name of a company affiliation is revealed. AME wants to make clear that the real future of health care in America resides with the ethical behavior of physicians --- and only with FULL disclosure will that be possible."

ABOUT THE ASSOCIATION FOR MEDICAL ETHICS: The Association for Medical Ethics consists of physicians from every specialty of medicine with the purpose to promote patient care and evidence-based medicine and to provide increased public awareness of the pervasive financial influence of industry, that sometimes is detrimental, on health care providers and patients. The Association has more than 250 members based in more than 11 countries around the world. For more information on the Association for Medical Ethics or details on the AME Ethical Rules of Disclosure, please visit

Authors of the AME Ethical Rules of Disclosure: In addition to Dr. Rosen author's include, Felicia COHN, PhD, Director of Medical Ethics, Univ. of Calif, Irvine, School of Medicine; John FRUEHAUF, MD, Associate Adjunct Professor and Director, Clinical Pharmacology and Developmental Therapeutics, Univ. of Calif, Irvine, School of Medicine ; Stewart GREEN, MD , Clinical Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery, Univ. of Calif, Irvine, School of Medicine; Bang HOANG, MD, Orthopaedic Oncologist and NIH funded researcher, Assistant Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery, Univ. of Calif, Irvine , School of Medicine; Zeev KAIN, MD, Associate Dean for Clinical Research, Univ. of Calif., Irvine, Medical Center, and Professor and Chairman, Dept of Anesthesiology, Univ. of Calif, Irvine, School of Medicine; Michael KALICHMAN, MD NIH funded Medical Ethicist, Professor Univ. of Calif, San Diego, School of Medicine; Leonard SENDER, MD Director, Clinical Oncology Services, Professor of Medicine, Univ. of Calif, Irvine.