$20,000 or $20,000,000. Come on, it's just a difference of a few zeroes!
The Wall Street Journal story, "Medtronic Paid This Researcher More than $20,000 - Much More," should not be missed.
Spine surgeon using Medtronic devices takes money from Medtronic.
How much money?
His university medical center only required him to say whether it was $20K or more a year.
So for five years he declared that "YES" he got more than $20K a year.
Disclosure policy satisfied, right?
It's just that the "more than" was astronomically MORE THAN - like up to $4.6 million in royalty and consulting payments a year, according to the WSJ.
The paper quotes the surgeon's med school dean agreeing that its disclosure requirements are insufficient and â€śindefensible.â€?
The WSJ reports that the surgeon says he doesnâ€™t accept royalties on products used on his patients, and that since 1991 he has told patients about his royalty and consulting relationships.
Perhaps it should be made public exactly how that disclosure to patients is handled. I can't imagine.
"I have received $19 million in payments from a company to help develop and promote their products but that hasn't influenced my judgment in the least and I think this is the best product for you. Now, see my nurse to schedule the surgery."
We are all babes in the woods in our grasp of how complex the entanglement of conflicts of interest are in American health care.