In the Midst of the House's Health-Care Repeal, CU-Denver Teaching Hospitals Are Urged to Review Conflicts of Interest

January 20 2011, 9:39 AM

As expected, the U.S. House of Representatives voted in favor of the Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act, with Colorado's delegation split along party lines, notes the Denver Post. The Republicans won the majority, voting to dump the contentious reform passed last year. The bill is only symbolic, however, as the Democrat-controlled Senate will not take it to a vote.

"Today's action was a political stunt aimed at mollifying extremists in the Republican Party, and did nothing to address the most pressing issues facing our country," writes Denver Democrat Diana DeGette, in a statement. Boulder Dem Jared Polis also released a statement, expressing disappointment that in the first days of the new Congress, the economy and jobs creation did not seem to be the GOP's top priority. Video of his floor speech against the repeal is available on YouTube.

Meanwhile, state politicians are debating whether Colorado should be the first state in which people could become organ donors without their consent. The process, which is relatively common in Europe, would assume, by default, that people applying for state driver's licenses and identification cards want to donate their organs—unless they submit paperwork stating they want to opt out (via the Associated Press).

As that debate plays out, the University of Colorado at Denver and the teaching hospitals affiliated with it are poised to renew their conflict-of-interest policies after the investigative news site ProPublica found extensive ties between the schools' faculty and pharmaceutical companies (contained in its searchable Dollars for Docs database). Now, ProPublica reports, vice chancellor for health affairs Dr. Richard Krugman is rallying for a policy that expressly bans faculty from "delivering talks" for drug companies, saying, "While we value and want to increase our relationships with industry around [drug] discovery...we're going to just have to say we're not going to be involved with these speakers bureaus because they're primarily marketing."