Patients Don't Care about Conflicts of Interest

Today's Washington Post has an article that on the surface is about the drug industry, but covers a topic that the device industry must pay attention to. A survey published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that the vast majority of cancer patients don't care if their doctors have financial ties to the makers of experimental drugs they are using.

December 1, 2006

1 Min Read
Patients Don't Care about Conflicts of Interest

The conflict-of-interest issue has also become a hot button in the device industry, because the nature of device development requires collaboration between device companies and doctors. This confirms something I've been saying for months: That patients are more concerned about getting better than about the nuances of their doctor's relationship to the companies that make their treatments. Too many in the media and academia are making too big a deal of this issue. That being said, I've argued in the past that full disclosure is not a bad idea, if only to debunk harmful media perceptions and better educate the public about medical product development. These findings reinforce that. It appears that disclosing a conflict is unlikely to make the patient think less of the doctor, or switch doctors. After all, if a doctor helped develop a device, isn't he or she going to have a better idea of how to use it than a doctor who didn't help?

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