October 21, 2008

Can Financial conflicts hurt you?

One of the major issues affecting the decisions of most doctors is their financial tie with medical device companies or pharmaceutical companies. As funds from government organizations weaken, more researchers have to rely on corporate America for the funds to support their trials on new drugs and procedures. With these financial backings, comes the obligation to shine a positive light on the company.

Unfortunately not all doctors disclose this relationship, which can have a devastating effect on their patient. For example it has happened where a doctor has elected to use certain procedures or devices based on their financial interest or investment in a particular company.

These close relationships are nothing new. But the New York Times published last week an article, “Ties Between Doctors and Stent Makers Queried,? about a government inquiry on these relationships and how they are affecting healthcare.

What I find interesting is how little the American people know about these relationships and how they are affecting their care options. As a health communicator I want to know what I can do to expose these financial ties.