To the Editor:
In his letter describing recently-introduced Congressional legislation to establish “healthcare innovation zones” (1), Dr. Kirch of the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) listed his financial disclosures as “none.” I believe this is misleading.
Dr. Kirch did not disclose that the AAMC proposed such zones (2). As a federally registered lobbying organization that has spent $100,000-$400,000 annually on lobbying activities since 1999 (3), common sense dictates that one of the AAMC’s “products” is legislation.
Thus, Dr. Kirch should have disclosed his organization’s role in the product his letter described, just as he would have disclosed if his organization had invented a new drug or device expected to benefit the organization or its affiliates. At the very least, such disclosure would have helped the JAMA editors realize he was hyping something his organization helped create.
(1) Kirch DG. The Healthcare Innovation Zone: a platform for true reform. JAMA. 2010 Mar 3;303(9):874-875. PubMed 20197534
(2) "Rep. Schwartz introduces legislation to establish AAMC-proposed health care innovation zones." Press Release, Association of American Medical Colleges, July 10, 2009. Online at: http://www.aamc.org/newsroom/pressrel/2009/090710.htm -- accessed April 4, 2010.
(3) Lobbying Disclosure Act Database: http://soprweb.senate.gov/index.cfm?event=choosefields -- Searched on "registrant name" = "association of american medical colleges" on April 4, 2010.