Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Herb Kohl (D-Wis.) sent inquiries to Columbia University and to the Cardiovascular Research Foundation to determine whether research physicians affiliated with the institutions received money from the medical-device industry.
Letters sent to both institutions are specifically seeking information about the foundations support for an annual conference promoting cardiac devices and techniques, plus the additional financial relationships between professors of medicine and cardiac-device companies featured at this conference.
As part of our oversight responsibilities, we have been analyzing the policies and practices that universities and hospitals have in place requiring their physicians to report outside income. We have concluded that there is a lack of transparency in this area, the senators wrote in their letter to Lee Bollinger, president of Columbia University.
In a written statement, the Cardiovascular Research Foundation responded that it intends to comply fully with (the senators) request for information about CRFs research and educational activities and funding sources. Columbia did not respond with comment by deadline.
Grassley and Kohl are the co-sponsors of the Physician Payments Sunshine Act, which would require pharmaceutical, medical device and biologics manufacturers to disclose payments they make to physicians. -- by Jennifer Lubell