When leaders of public universities that receive their income from both tax payers and private industry interests, ethical lines become blurred when expensive technologies or industry-sponsored research protocols are promoted by that university. Are patients' best interests sufficiently protected?
Paul Levy, former CEO of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and blogger over at the Not Running A Hospital blog, has broken the Chicago story that is ongoing at the University of Illinois which came to light after an advertisement promoting robotic surgery at the University was paid for by the robotics company. Today, Mr. Levy asks if the dean's disclosure documents filed with the Secretary of State (specifically the Statement of Economic Interests) are (1) sufficiently reviewed and (2) enforced to prevent such conflicts of interest inherent to such double-dipping.
Is the public being served best when conflicts such as these are ignored?
Mr. Levy deserves praise for his dogged coverage of this issue. Hopefully the Secretary of State and the University of Illinois (that is already reeling from earlier exposure regarding the University's former policy of admitting students based on patronage criteria), will resolve to commit to appropriate oversight and end such conflicts. As Levy points out: the silence has been deafening.