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February 15, 2012

The Unintended Consequences of Conflict of Interest Disclosure

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Department of Social and Decision Sciences, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (Dr Loewenstein); Fuqua School of Business, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina, and Ethics Center, Harvard University, Boston, Massachusetts (Dr Sah); and School of Management, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut (Dr Cain).

JAMA. 2012;307(7):669-670. doi:10.1001/jama.2012.154

Conflicts of interest, both financial and nonfinancial, are ubiquitous in medicine, and the most commonly prescribed remedy is disclosure. The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission and the Accountable Care Act impose a range of disclosure requirements for physicians, and almost all medical journals now require authors to disclose conflicts of interest (although these requirements may be imperfectly heeded). Given that some relationships between physicians and industry are fruitful and some conflicts are unavoidable, can disclosure correct the problems that arise when economic interests prevent physicians from putting patients' interests first?

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