A study set for release in the Oct. 17 Journal of the American Medical Association has found financial relationships between academic medical institutions and medical-device and pharmaceutical companies to be as common as those between individual providers and healthcare products companies.
Conducted by researchers at the Massachusetts General Hospital Institute for Health Policy, the study surveyed department chairs at 125 U.S. medical schools and 15 independent teaching hospitals about their compensated work for pharmaceutical companies and medical-device makers. Researchers found a full 67% of teaching hospital departments and 60% of department heads had some sort of compensated relationship with companies. About 65% of medical schools also had relationships.
We wanted to find when these influential medical leaders thought relationships with industry might add to or detract from the independence of medical centers research and teaching, said Susan Goold, a co-author of the study. Although many respondents felt that relationships with the industry could compromise the independence of research or education, such relationships were nonetheless quite common.
Industry compensated work at hospitals typically took the form of consulting relationships, speaker engagements, advisory board membership and intellectual property partnerships, the study found. Medical schools frequently identified funding for education programs as well as residency and fellowship training as the manner of compensation. -- by Shawn Rhea
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