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Health Care Reform
April 26, 2010

Public Disclosure of Conflicts of Interest: Moving the Policy Debate Forward

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliation: Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston.

Arch Intern Med. 2010;170(8):667. doi:10.1001/archinternmed.2010.27

An overwhelming body of evidence shows that financial relationships between physicians and drug and device companies are ubiquitous in medicine today.1 These relationships can take the form of consulting payments, research funding, industry support of continuing medical education activities, meals for physicians and their staff, trips to professional meetings, and company-provided gifts and services.2 Historically, physician-industry relationships have been intentionally hidden from the general public, employing institutions, and elected officials. The covert nature of these relationships has fueled the impression that they are inappropriate and has made it impossible for patients and institutions to evaluate what they do not know about.