Harvard Medical School tightened its conflict-of-interest policy that prevents faculty from taking industry money to give promotional talks for drug or medical device companies. Harvard professors cannot accept corporate gifts and meals under the policy described as “one of the most stringent of any medical college in the country” by the school.

Dean Jeffrey Flier accepted the policy changes, which were recommended by a 34-member review panel.

“Within and outside industry, many recognize that industry and academia must seek a new model of academia- industry collaboration to achieve greater success at discovery and development of new treatments while fully protecting academic values and those of the medical profession,” Flier said in the statement.

The decision to adopt a tougher conflict policy was in response to reports showing some doctors hold financial ties to companies whose products they were evaluating.

Under the new policy, all relevant financial interests of the school’s faculty will be disclosed on a website. Any faculty who plans to serve on a profit-making company board has to first undergo a committee review.
The new policy separates industry financing and exhibits from Harvard’s postgraduate education classes. Harvard would allow corporate support for individual postgraduate medical education classes if at least two corporations are financing it.

The new rules for Harvard Medical School’s 11,000 faculty will go into effect on January 1.