Patients unaware of docs' conflicts of interest


Close on the heels of the WSJ story last week that exposed gaping holes in med school conflict of interest policies comes this article in the Medical Journal of Australia.


To seek the views of patients attending general practice about doctors’ interactions with the pharmaceutical industry and their wishes for disclosure of this information.

Design, setting and participants:

906 patients attending three general practices in metropolitan Sydney during October –November 2007 completed an 18-item anonymous survey exploring their perceptions of doctors’ competing interests.


Most patients (76%) were unaware of any relationship their doctor may have with pharmaceutical companies. Patients wanted to know if their doctor obtained any benefits in cash or kind from the pharmaceutical industry (71%), financial incentives for research participation (69%) or sponsorship to attend conferences (61%). Most agreed that disclosure of competing interests by doctors is important (84%), believing this disclosure would help patients make better informed treatment decisions (78%). Eighty per cent of patients stated that they would have more confidence in their doctor’s decisions if interests were fully disclosed, with strong support for verbal disclosure during the consultation (78%).

Patients are currently not aware of their doctors’ competing interests but do want to know of doctors’ interactions with the pharmaceutical industry, indicating that disclosure of competing interests would improve their confidence in doctors’ decisions.

(Thanks to Elena Pasca of the French Pharmacritique blog for this tip!)


Doctors relationships with med companies are like an attorney's country-club relationship with judges. It's not right.

Surgery centers that cater to healthier patients who can go home the same day are popping up in many parts of the country, raising questions about their financial impact on hospitals and their potential for conflicts of interest.
Doctors who refer a large bulk of their business to their doctor-owned ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs) were more likely to send well-insured patients to the centers while referring lower-paying Medicaid patients to hospital outpatient departments, according to a study of two Pennsylvania health-care markets published in the March 18 edition of Health Affairs. Pennsylvania has a large number of ASCs and rules that require both hospitals and ASCs to submit data

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Gary Schwitzer published on January 20, 2009 6:44 AM.

Surprise! PhRMA chief doesn't want Medicare negotiating drug prices was the previous entry in this blog.

Lunch with pharma at breast cancer conference is the next entry in this blog.

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