Physicians’ financial conflicts of interest


Today’s Times has an interesting piece on the Cleveland Clinic‘s new policy of

publicly reporting the business relationships that any of its 1,800 staff doctors and scientists have with drug and device makers.

The clinic, one of the nation???s most prominent medical research centers, is making a complete disclosure of doctors??? and researchers??? financial ties available on its Web site,

It appears to be the first such step by a major medical center to disclose the industry relationships of individual doctors. And it comes as the nation???s doctors and hospitals are under mounting pressure to address potential financial conflicts of interest that can occur when they work closely with companies to develop and research new drugs and devices.

The public reporting will be pretty minimal, at least at first, but the Cleveland Clinic gets points for getting out in front on this issue. Expect other research/treatment centers to follow suit. Charles Grassley and his colleagues on the Senate Finance Committee will be going after academic medical centers and others to deal with financial conflicts openly, and major drug firms like Merck and Lillyhave already announced their intention to publicly disclose payments to physicians next year.

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