US doctors and medical associations have been urged to end ties with pharmaceutical companies and move to a complete break from corporate sponsorship.

Tighter conflict-of–interest guidelines and a ban on financial relationships with drug and medical device firms was urged in paper in the April issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association.

Author of the paper and past president of the American College of Cardiology Dr Steven Nissen said that patients expect medical bodies to advise independent treatment, without influence from corporations.

“When we write a practice guideline, we are telling our colleagues how they should care for their patients. If you are one of those patients you are counting on that guideline to be of the highest calibre, free of any influence.”

The authors also recommend that doctors with ties do not serve in leadership association positions.

By Natalie Coomber.