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October 2016

Disclosing Industry Relationships—A Patient-Centered Approach

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Surgery, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston
  • 2Department of Surgery, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, Massachusetts
  • 3Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts
JAMA Surg. 2016;151(10):895-896. doi:10.1001/jamasurg.2016.1063

Close collaboration between physicians and industry enables innovation in health care. However, cognitive biases that may result from these relationships have the potential to influence decisions associated with the delivery of care. Most recently, health policy efforts have focused on public disclosure of financial relationships and the development of practices to mitigate potential conflicts of interest. Despite progress toward greater transparency, there continue to be gaps in policies that promote fully informing and educating individual patients regarding relevant industry relationships by their treating physician. Addressing these gaps is of particular importance, as the number of industry-sponsored trials have increased by 43%, with a concomitant decrease over the past 9 years of investigator-initiated clinical studies funded by the National Institutes of Health.1 As industry relationships with treating physicians in both academic and community practices have become increasingly common, the existing process of informed consent should evolve to include direct disclosures of industry relationships to patients and their families.

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