Thank you Price,
I've noted a couple of times previously that the total segregation of pharma and medico is unlikely to be beneficial to the advancement of medicine or the welfare of patients in the real world. I would also suggest that it is not just about whether it helps the patient vs self but also any undue influence on decisions that can have long term consequences. It really comes down to how 'cozy' these arrangements become. This is exactly why we need, and have, 'Conflict of Interest' statements at the end of most academic papers, it doesn't necessarily mean there a conflict but it allows everyone to see that there is a potential for it to occur. And allows others to ask questions to resolve any concerns.
In my view, experts accepting monies to attend or speak at conferences, participate in study, conduct clinical trials, etc. that can't/won't be funded by governments, hospitals or the individual are within the bounds of acceptable behaviour providing they are declared, on subject and limited to reasonable costs. i.e. I don't expect an Australian specialist flying to the AASLD conferences to stay in a caravan while he is there, but nor do I expect that he would be taken to Broadway shows unless he pays for the ticket himself.
However, being a board member for a commercial corporation while having input to decisions by government/hospitals/etc. is not something that should be allowed. As such I also suspect the NHS officials commented on earlier should be disqualified from any decision processes that have anything at all to do with those from who they have received funding.