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Study Finds Industry Ties Go Undisclosed in Medical Journal Articles

New York Times (9/14, B1, Wilson) reports, “Twenty-five out of 32 highly paid consultants to medical device companies in 2007, or their publishers, failed to reveal the financial connections in journal articles the following year, according to a study ” published online Sept. 13 in the Archives of Internal Medicine. “The study compared major payments to consultants by orthopedic device companies with financial disclosures the consultants later made in medical journal articles, and found them lacking in public transparency.”

“Forty-one doctors accepted a total of $114 million in 2007, in amounts of $1 million to $8 million,” the study found, USA Today (9/14, Sternberg) reports. “Yet, half of the articles published by the doctors in the following year made no mention of corporate payments.” Disturbingly, “this lack of disclosure appears to flout professional and medical journal standards requiring that doctors reveal any potential conflicts of interest that might influence their research or expert analysis, doctors say.”

Bloomberg News (9/14, Cortez) reports that “investigators analyzed a database of payments from J&J’s DePuy unit, Stryker, Zimmer Holdings Inc., Biomet and Smith & Nephew Plc, and cross referenced their findings with disclosures on medical journal articles written by the top-paid consultants.”

“The study highlights the vast sums paid to a select group of surgeons in the orthopedic field,” the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (9/14, Fauber) reports. Researchers “found that in 2007, just 41 surgeons and researchers got $114 million from the five firms, an average of $2.8 million each. That was part of the more than $248 million shelled out to orthopedic surgeons by the five companies in one year.” Notably, “one of the biggest companies in the field, Medtronic, was not even included in the analysis.”

Reuters (9/14, Steenhuysen), The Hill (9/13, Pecquet) “Healthwatch” blog, and CQ HealthBeat (9/14, Adams) also covered the story.

From the American Association for Justice news release.

Bob Kraft

I am a Dallas, Texas lawyer who has had the privilege of helping thousands of clients since 1971 in the areas of Personal Injury law and Social Security Disability.

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