Despite their potential benefits, relationships linking medical school faculty and the pharmaceutical and device industries may also challenge the professional value of primacy of patient welfare, a point highlighted in a recent Institute of Medicine report. Academic medical centers and professors have the added professional obligation to ensure the unbiased, evidence-based education of future doctors. This essay argues that faculty financial conflicts of interest may threaten this obligation by propagating the bias introduced by these relationships to students. This could occur directly through the process of curriculum determination and delivery, and also indirectly through the "hidden curriculum," which deserves particular attention, as its lessons may conflict with those professed in the formal curriculum. The essay concludes with guiding principles to consider when developing a conflict of interest policy at academic medical centers.