Physicians overwhelmed by the “firehose” of new medical information pouring from medical journals need docents to guide them through the recommendations, writes Dr. Jerry Avorn, a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School in today's New York Times. One potential source of guidance—the clinical practice guidelines written by professional societies—may be tainted by conflicts of interest, he warns.
"Take, for example, the recommendations issued recently by the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists on caring for patients with diabetes. The AACE's latest guidelines elevate many second- or third-line drugs to more prominent positions in the prescribing hierarchy, rivaling once uncontested go-to medications like metformin, an inexpensive generic. They also emphasize the riskiness of established treatments like insulin and glipizide, which now carry yellow warning labels in the AACE summary.