Study: Payments to Doctors Not Disclosed

NEW YORK, Sept. 14 (UPI) — A study says U.S. medical journals are lax about disclosing possible conflicts of interest between doctors and medical device companies.

Nearly half the surgeons who received at least $1 million in payments from orthopedic device companies did not have that relationship made clear in their scientific articles, the study by the Institute on Medicine as a Profession of New York said.

Journal readers are not being adequately informed about conflicts of interest even when the funds involved are significant, the institute study said.

The five medical device firms studied disclosed the dollars they paid to consultants in a public database the institute compared to the financial disclosure information, if any, listed in the journal articles.

“The findings raise troubling questions about undisclosed payments or royalties and other fees from medical device companies that could lead to biased scientific conclusions,” senior author David Rothman, president of the institute, said.

Journal editors expect a researcher to disclose all conflicts but do not verify if the information is complete and accurate, the study said.

“These articles constitute a permanent scientific record that is used by practicing physicians, guideline committees, purchasers and patients to evaluate treatment options,” the study said.

“Journal editors, reviewers and readers must be fully informed about authors’ industry relationship to consider the potential for bias,” the study authors wrote.

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