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And Another One Bites the Dust, Grassley Strikes Again...

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From the Wall Street Journal:


Chuck Grassley is beating the conflict-of-interest drum again.

The latest doctor to draw attention from the Iowa senator is Jeffrey Wang, chief of spine surgery at UCLA, who Grassley says didn’t inform the school of $459,500 Wang was paid from 2004 to 2007. Wang and UCLA declined to comment on Grassley’s letter.

Grassley has made a habit of highlighting cases in which he says doctors have held back information about their payments. Another recent example is that of University of Texas psychiatry professor Karen Wagner, who he said didn’t report to UT funds such as speakers fees received from GlaxoSmithKline.

He has been repeatedly pushing this issue because he wants a national law that would require disclosure of payments that doctors receive from industry. Even as states, universities and industry move to make their own disclosure rules more stringent, Grassley is making a case that in many cases, the rules and enforcement are inadequate.

Companies that made payments such as consulting and speaking fees to Wang included medical-device makers Medtronic and FzioMed and the DePuy unit of Johnson & Johnson. Grassley says Wang “consistently checked no” on UCLA disclosure forms when asked whether he had received income of $500 or more from companies funding his clinical research. All three companies were sponsoring research by Wang at the time of the payments, WSJ reports. Grassley says UCLA told him that Wang “erred in completing” the disclosures.

J&J and FzioMed declined to comment. Medtronic said it wasn’t in a position to know whether Wang had followed his employers conflict-of-interest rules, but that his agreement has expired and hasn’t been renewed.

What can I say? We continue to fiddle at the U of M. Frank is in no hurry. Gak!

The U's approach lately to problems seems to be just to ignore them. For a good illustration of this strategy, see double dippers.

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