BMJ Reports on Conflict-of-Interest Transparency Movement

Rob Wipond
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Two articles in the British Medical Journal this month discuss the problem of widespread conflicts of interest in medicine and psychiatry, and provide updates on efforts in the U.S. and the UK to increase transparency, such as legally required disclosures and pre-registering clinical trials. “Problems identified, writes BMJ legal correspondent Clare Dyer, have included “doctors failing to disclose substantial payments from drug companies as required by their institutions or by medical journals; settlements by companies to avoid prosecution for making illegal payments to doctors; and professional societies drafting clinical practice guidelines without disclosing industry funding or the drafters’ conflicts of interest.”

In “Seeing the Strings,” Rebecca Coombs notes that we now know pharmaceutical companies gave over $1 billion to US doctors in 2012.

Seeing the strings (Coombs, Rebecca. British Medical Journal. July 2014. BMJ 2014;349:g4657)

Who is paying your doctor?
(Dyer, Clare. British Medical Journal. July 2014. BMJ 2014;349:g4601)

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Rob Wipond
Rob Wipond is a Victoria, British Columbia-based freelance journalist who has been writing on mental health issues for fifteen years. His research has particularly focused on the interfaces between psychiatry, the justice system, and civil rights. His articles have been nominated for three Canadian National Magazine Awards, six Western Magazine Awards, and four Jack Webster Awards for journalism. He can be contacted through his website.

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2 COMMENTS

  1. Sadly,
    Here is how NH could alleviate this- what may be perceived as “pesky” federal legislation.
    It seems the NH Governor just vetos the bill that would allow the legislative committee to audit the accounts, that may keep disclosures like- who the recipients’ are…from the public.
    http://www.seacoastonline.com/articles/20140729-NEWS-140729714
    And here is what NH’s Dean Kamen has to say of what may be holding up his medical device “innovations” on a federal level:
    http://www.designnews.com/author.asp?section_id=3607&doc_id=274185&itc=dn_analysis_element&dfpPParams=industry_medical,aid_274185&dfpLayout=blog&dfpPParams=industry_medical,aid_274185&dfpLayout=blog

    Thanks again for the great article!

  2. Simple disclosure will do exactly nothing to stop the problem, it’s a band-aid on a gaping wound. There are plenty of papers which disclose conflicts f interests which are widely cited and taken at face value by the media and doctors. As long as there is a separation between science and financial interests there is going to be a major problem with clinical trials, drugs studies etc.