SAGES Takes Leadership Role in Defining Relationship Between Professional Medical Associations & Industry

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The Society of American Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons (SAGES) recently published a Statement on the Relationship Between Professional Medical Associations (PMAs) and Industry in the April issue of Surgical Endoscopy, its official journal.

The Society of American Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons (SAGES) recently published a Statement on the Relationship Between Professional Medical Associations (PMAs) and Industry (1) in the April issue of Surgical Endoscopy, its official journal. The white paper addresses the conflict of interest between PMAs and the surgical device industry. Also, the paper offers suggestions to manage a transparent, but necessary relationship between PMAs and the surgical device industry. Members of Congress have been invited to join SAGES leaders as they convene the SAGES 2010 Annual Scientific Meeting in National Harbor, Maryland from April 14-17, 2010. The paper and its relevant topics will be discussed during the four-day conference, which highlights a wide range of technological advances in surgery.

SAGES President, Dr. C. Daniel Smith, Professor and Chair of the Mayo School of Medicine in Jacksonville, FL, identified conflict of interest and industry relations as one of his top priorities for SAGES early in his presidential year. “These relationships have lead to significant advances in medicine, and especially surgery. The responsible management of these relationships should ameliorate concerns about conflict of interest. SAGES and its members accept responsibility for providing leadership around this topic.” He appointed an Industry Relations Task Force immediately upon assuming the presidency.

A recent editorial preceded the white paper and appeared in Surgical Endoscopy February 2010 (2). This editorial emphasized the following key points:

1) A transparent relationship between the medical device industry and PMAs will benefit patient outcomes
2) The medical device industry and pharmaceutical industry are significantly different with regard to PMA and industry relationships
3) The distinction between science and education, and sales and marketing is critical and must be emphasized
4) Device industry involvement in the training of surgeons is vital
5) Eliminating relationships between the device industry and surgical PMAs may slow technological innovations and potentially harm patients.

For the last two decades, SAGES has played a central role in the development of endoscopic and minimally invasive surgery. SAGES strongly supports the stance that education and research must be carefully distinguished from sales and marketing, and that the PMA, industry and individual surgeon relationships must be carefully managed and transparent.

1. Society of American Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons (2010) Society of American Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons (SAGES) statement on the relationship between professional medical associations and industry. Surg Endosc 24: 742-744

2. Mark Talamini (2010) Surgical Endoscopy: An Update. Surg Endosc 24:741

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Jennifer Clark
SAGES
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