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June 1, 2005

Physicians and the Investment Industry

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Office of the Provost, Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine, Case Western Reserve University, and Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Cleveland, Ohio (Dr Topol); Institute for Health Policy, Massachusetts General Hospital—Partners Health Care System, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Mass (Dr Blumenthal).

JAMA. 2005;293(21):2654-2657. doi:10.1001/jama.293.21.2654

Until recently, it was quite uncommon for physicians to have a consulting relationship with the investment community. But the relationship of physicians with financial entities has been radically transformed, with almost 1 of 10 US physicians currently engaged in a formal consultancy with the investment industry.1-4 Because of investment firms’ interest in ongoing clinical research, the proportion of academic physicians who have relationships with these financial entities appears to be considerably higher. These relationships create opportunities both for useful exchange of information and for potential conflict of interest, particularly in the area of clinical research. In this article, we discuss the scope of the convergence between physicians and investment firms, the issues of conflict of interest, and propose recommendations for institutions and individuals.

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