Several hospitals across the U.S. are pushing doctors to fully disclose their financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry, in order to help patients determine whether their doctors are making money from drug and device companies they prescribe.
One of the nations’ leading medical centers, The Cleveland Clinic, announced this week their plans to fully disclose all of its doctors’ and scientists’ financial ties with pharmaceutical companies and medical device makers. The information will soon be available on their Web site, www.clevelandclinic.org.
The CEO of the Cleveland Clinic sited the reason for the disclosure. “Over time, it came to our attention that we did not want patients concerned that we were making decisions based on the basis of something other than what was in their best interest.” Since many of us have relationships with the industry to help foster new and improved drugs, we thought we could eliminate potential conflicts of interest by being absolutely transparent about those issues.”
Many experts are praising the clinic for leading the way, arguing that doctors’ treatment decisions may be influenced by the large sums of money provided to them by companies in the form of speaking and consulting fees, drug royalties and equities.
Many doctors are in support of the move as well. “It builds trust among our colleagues in relation to research and our patients for us to be transparent,” stated Dr. Daniel Hayes, clinical director at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center.
Hopefully this disclosure will set a precedent that many others will follow. This recent move supports the growing concern regarding patient’s health care and the potential conflicts of interest that exist as doctors receive gifts and other payments from drug companies which may persuade a doctor’s decision as to which drug to prescribe or which medical devise to choose.