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New study: Serious gaps in medical journals' disclosure of physician relationships with industry
Date:9/13/2010

(New York, NY) Nearly half the surgeons who made at least $1 million in payments from orthopedic device companies did not have that relationship published in their scientific articles, according to a study released today in the on-line edition of the Archives of Internal Medicine. The study shows that readers are not being adequately informed about conflicts of interest even when the funds involved are significant.

The study, conducted by researchers at the New York-based Institute on Medicine as a Profession (IMAP), is the first of its kind to use company records to check on the accuracy of disclosure information listed in medical journals. The five manufacturing firms studied disclosed the dollars they paid to consultants in a public database. IMAP researchers searched the database and compared the list 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," says senior author David Rothman, president of IMAP (www.imapny.org), a think tank based at the Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons in New York City. He co-authored the study with IMAP colleagues Susan Chimonas, associate research scholar and Zachary Frosh, research associate.

The authors note that journal editors typically don't check multiple databases that are now available and simply rely on the honor system. They expect a researcher to disclose all conflicts but do not verify if the information is complete and accurate.

Rothman and colleagues argue that full disclosure in medical journal articles is vital. "These articles constitute a permanent scientific record that is used by practicing physicians, guideline committees, purchasers and patients to evaluate treatment options. Journal editors, revi
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Contact: Janet Firshein
jfirshein@burnesscommunications.com
301-652-1558
Burness Communications
Source:Eurekalert

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