With increased attention being put on improper financial influences in medicine, by both the lay and professional press, you may be wondering how you can find out if your doctor is getting brown paper bags of cash from Big Pharma or a medical device manufacturer. The next time a doctor recommends a drug or a medical device, check with the Association for Medical Ethics to see if your doctor has improper financial ties with the manufacturer. As a result of a U.S. Department of Justice settlement with four medical device companies, Zimmer, Inc., DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc., Biomet, Inc., and Smith & Nephew, Inc., these back door consulting agreements must now be made public. (See our earlier post about this: Financial Ties) The Association for Medical Ethics maintains a searchable database that will tell you if your doctor is on the payroll of the company whose product he has just recommended: www.ethicaldoctor.org. Some of the information is shocking: two physicians listed made more than $8 million each from Dupuy Orthopaedics.
Now that’s a fact you would want to know before the doctor operated, isn’t it?
New York Times, March 22, 2008