Family docs and Coke–more on conflicts of interest

Conflicts of interest in medicine abound. Some arise simply from the structure of our non system. You get paid more if you do more. Other conflicts are more onerous and come from money accepted, for whatever reason, from suppliers–a regular practice of the pharmaceutical industry.

This, however, goes into the category of unbelievable but true. The AAFP (American Academy of Family Practice), the organization that represents family doctors, announced in October that it accepted a six-figure grant from the Coca-Cola Co. to create content about beverages and sweeteners for the academy’s consumer Web site, FamilyDoctor.org.

You may recall that:

  • “Soda and other sweetened beverages are the No. 1 source of added sugars in the U.S. diet, the American Heart Association says, and many health experts blame the drinks, at least in part, for the soaring U.S. obesity rate. A 12-ounce can of soda can contain up to 10 teaspoons of sugar.”

Medicynical note: Money makes people do funny things.

Even if the AAFP’s intentions are entirely pure, there is the undeniable appearance of a conflict.


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