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American Psychiatric Association to examine funding from drug industry -

The American Psychiatric Association (APA) has reportedly appointed a work group to identify the industry money it receives, what the funds pay for and whether to go without them. The Ad Hoc Workgroup on Adapting to Changes in Pharmaceutical Revenue, appointed last spring, is set to report to the APA's board of trustees in October. The move is in response to intense news media and congressional scrutiny of likely conflicts of interest created by drug- and device-makers' support of clinical researchers, medical education programmes and practicing physicians. The APA is considering a move away from pharmaceutical funding over a five-year period.

The work group is expected to help the association get a hold on exactly what industry money supports and what, if anything, should be cut. Pharmaceutical revenue accounted for $14 million of the 38,000-member APA's 2007 budget. The revenue is generated in the form of journal advertising and grants for continuing medical education and fellowships.

Most of the criticism has focused on industry-supported symposia, but APA officials confirm that the association has set up strict firewalls to check bias from creeping in. In a similar move, the Institute on Medicine as a Profession is working on a set of guidelines to help medical societies reduce potential conflicts of interest.

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