One of the keys to drug and medical device manufacturers’ sale of their products is articles by leading members in the profession that directly or indirectly extol the benefits of the product. Manufacturers have long supported such “research”. Some doctors will fairly disclose the amounts and the nature of their relationships so that the readers are informed of the financial relationship. Others choose silence.
In November 2000, Dr. David Korn wrote in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) an article entitled Conflicts of Interest in Biomedical Research stating:
“Simply, the relationship between the public and academic medicine is special, different from any other in academe, and rooted in trust that is nowhere more evident or fragile than in medical research involving the participation of human subjects, where even the perception that faculty investigators or their institutions have financial interests that might compromise their independence and credibility cannot be tolerated. This is especially so when those interests have not been openly disclosed from the onset.”
Click here to read more of the Conflicts of Interest in Biomedical Research article.
In July 2001, JAMA Editors DeAngelis, Fontanarosa and Flanagin published an editorial in JAMA entitled a Reporting Financial Conflicts of Interest and Relationships Between Investigators and Research Sponsors which spoke of these conflicts:
“Unlike many of the other potential conflicts of interest, financial conflicts of interest usually are not apparent unless they are pecifically disclosed. Full disclosure is considered an important method for reporting and managing conflicts of interest and serves to highlight the potential for bias, but cannot and does not eliminate the conflicts. On the other hand, failure to prospectively disclose relevant financial interests violates the public’s trust, and if such information is revealed subsequently, the credibility of the investigators and of the journal that publishes the work may be seriously damaged.”
Click here to read more of the Reporting Financial Conflicts of Interest and Relationships Between Investigators and Research Sponsors article.
In July 2005, these same JAMA editors published another editorial entitled Reporting Conflicts of Interest, Financial Aspects of Research, and Role of Sponsors in Funded Studies, which stated:
“The need for transparency in reporting the financial conflicts of interest of authors and the relationships between investigators and funding sources has never been greater and is essential to help maintain confidence and trust in the scientific integrity of medical research articles.
The editors continued:
“All authors of all manuscripts submitted to JAMA … are required to report potential conflicts of interest, including specific financial interests relevant to the subject of their manuscript. Authors are expected to provide detailed information about any relevant financial interests or financial conflicts within the past 5 years and for the foreseeable future, particularly those present at the time the research was conducted or the paper was written and up to the time of publication… JAMA requires complete disclosure of all relevant financial relationships and potential financial conflicts of interest, regardless of amount or value.”
Click here to read more of the Reporting Conflicts of Interest, Financial Aspects of Research, and Role of Sponsors in Funded Studies article.
So while the leaders of the profession have called for more transparency, the writers associated with the manufacturers have often chosen silence. As a result, when you read an article about the DePuy ASR product by Dr. Thomas Vail ($546,376 in 2009 and 2010, including Vail Consulting LLC) or Thomas P. Schmalzried (between $2,766,062 in 2009 and 2010) you may not know of their financial interest or relationship. Below are the top four doctor recipients of funds:
Douglas A. Dennis, M.D. – $7,251,151
Chitranjan S. Ranawat, M.D. – $7,339,709
Richard D. Scott, M.D. – $11,461,882
Thomas S. Thornhill, M.D. – $11,552,532
This is the kind of information used by The Brandi Law Firm DePuy Hip Attorneys when they investigate claims of defective drugs and medical devices.