Consulting relationships between medical school faculty and the biopharmaceutical and medical device industries offer the potential to advance research and promote the translation of academic discoveries into technologies that can benefit the health of individuals and populations. Such relationships are common, and studies suggest that faculty with industry relationships are more productive than their peers without such relationships. These benefits notwithstanding, numerous academic studies, government hearings, and litigation have called attention to the potential risks associated with these relationships.
Consulting includes a broad range of activities in which a faculty member provides advice or services to a company related to his/her area of professional expertise, typically in exchange for payment. Many universities permit faculty members to devote a portion of their faculty time to consulting (e.g., one business day per week), and faculty members are typically paid directly by the company, rather than through the university.