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

ewers and readers must be fully informed about authors' industry relationship to consider the potential for bias," they write.

IMAP compared 2007 physician payment information from five orthopedic device companies with disclosure of company payments in journal articles. These five companies (Biomet, DePuy Orthopedics, Smith & Nephew, Stryker, and Zimmer) made a total of 1,654 payments that amounted to $248 million in 2007 for consulting, honoraria or other payments for services. The analysis also showed that payments to 41 orthopedic surgeon researchers ranged from just over $1 million to a high of $8.8 million, representing 62 percent of all company expenditures.

These highly paid orthopedic consultants became the focus of the analysis because of the size of their payments. The IMAP team homed in on 95 articles published in the scientific literature after researchers received their large payments and found that fewer than half of the journal articles disclosed a financial relationship between the author and company.

In no case did journal articles reveal how substantial the payments were to the authors. Almost all of articles were directly related to a device, like a hip implant, made by the company. This study focused on orthopedic surgeons but other studies suggest other medical specialists also fail to have their industry ties published.

Rothman says consumers should be concerned. "Patients have a real stake in transparency. You want to make sure that the surgeon is choosing the device that is best for you and that your doctor is not getting biased information."

Growing data show patients are increasingly wary of physician industry ties. A recent study by Consumer Reports showed that half of patients thought that gifts from drug companies influenced their doctor's choice of drugs.

Rothman says editors and others need to start using the company's data bases to get information about physician-industry rela
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Contact: Janet Firshein
jfirshein@burnesscommunications.com
301-652-1558
Burness Communications
Source:Eurekalert

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