Professional Shame

TUSM turns a blind eye to physicians accepting payments in exchange for perks.

Higher education is supposed to be just that: a way for aspiring students to continue their education to more in-depth studies. For many, college is essential to those who must learn skills necessary to excel in their respective careers.

The medical profession is one such career. Many people in the profession are literally the last defense between life and death. The medical profession is responsible for the betterment of millions of people’s health, which makes a decent medical school education all the more necessary.

Sadly, Temple’s medical school – and many other schools around the country – are failing to uphold this task.

As reported in The Temple News this week, Temple’s medical school received a D grade from the American Medical Students Association in regards to its faculty relations with medical and pharmaceutical companies.

This is not a new problem and certainly not limited to Temple. In fact, some of the best schools in the country have the same problem.

Harvard Medical School, which received an F grade, has recently adopted new strategies to help make its professors’ and doctors’ relationships with pharmaceutical companies more transparent. The relationships are important because companies often aggressively lobby medical professionals to consider their products. A professor could be swayed by the companies to ignore or gloss over problems with the drugs.

We commend Temple medical students who are striving to bring about changes for the betterment of their school. They, and the hundreds of medical students around the country who are pushing for the same changes, are an inspiring testament to our generation’s demand for accountability.

That said, the fact that these students feel the situation in their schools is dire enough to demand change reflects poorly on the schools. This change is being demanded by students, not wealthy or powerful interests with an axe to grind, so we can be assured of its legitimacy.

But why has the situation gotten this bad? Medical schools should never have allowed their faculty to take payments or perks from drug companies without disclosing them. In fact, why are doctors not setting up the walls themselves? It is only damaging their reputations, and at the worst, limiting their ability to be the competent professionals we pay them to be.

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