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October 19, 2005

Physicians Advising Investment Firms—Reply

Author Affiliations

Letters Section Editor: Robert M. Golub, MD, Senior Editor.

JAMA. 2005;294(15):1897-1898. doi:10.1001/jama.294.15.1897-c

In Reply: We agree with Dr Patmas that disclosure to patients would be appropriate. Ms Hampson and Dr Emanuel raise an important issue by asserting that “consulting to the investment industry by physicians . . . is not a conflict of interest.” There are differences in the type of conflict of interest for traditional pharmaceutical and device companies compared with the investment industry—the latter is far more complex. A physician supplying advice may invest in the investment fund or have an interest in the fund, such that compensation relates to the fund’s profitability. Furthermore, the physician may invest in a particular company that represents a holding in the fund. Any of these relationships set up direct financial conflicts of interest.

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