Study highlights financial links between doctors, industry

WASHINGTON, Oct 16, 2007 (AFP) – Nearly two-thirds of US medical school department chairs maintain some form of personal or financial links to the private sector, according to a study published Tuesday. The study, published in the October 17 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, also urges greater transparency and “underscore the need for the disclosure and management of these relationships.”

The study’s authors interviewed leading faculty at 125 US medical schools and the 15 largest independent university hospitals between February and October 2006.

A total of 459 of the 688 eligible department chairs, or 67 percent, responded to their queries.

Sixty percent of department chairs revealed “some form of personal relationship with industry,” such as the pharmaceutical sector, according to lead study author Eric Campbell of Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.

Twenty-seven percent reported working as a paid consultant for a private firm, and the same number reported serving on a scientific advisory board.

Among other links cited, 11 percent said they were member of a board of directors, nine percent said they had founded a company, and 14 percent said they