The pharmaceutical company Merck sent me a letter describing Merck’s upcoming efforts to implement greater transparency in their business. This will include public disclosure of payments to physicians who speak on behalf of Merck.
This, and similar programs started by other pharmaceutical companies, is most welcome. I think it is only fair that patients know if their doctor is taking money from drug companies. This way, patients will get to see if their doctor is considered a cutting edge expert whose advice is sought by companies and by other physicians. It also will give patients a sense if they should be at all concerned about whether their doctor’s decisions are influenced by company relationships.
This hot topic is the subject of another Getting Better Health Care radio program, in which I interview Dr. Guy Chisolm, Director of the Innovation Management and Conflict of Interest Program at the Cleveland Clinic.