Academic docs collect money from manufacturers

About Pia Christensen

Pia Christensen (@AHCJ_Pia) is the managing editor/online services for AHCJ. She manages the content and development of healthjournalism.org, coordinates AHCJ's social media efforts and edits and manages production of association guides, programs and newsletters.

In a two-day series, “Side Effects: Are doctor’s loyalties divided?,” John Fauber of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports on university doctors who are paid by drug companies and device manufacturers.

“More than 40 University of Wisconsin-Madison physicians were paid in 2007 to work as speakers or authors by drug or medical device companies, records show. In most cases, they worked for at least two companies, and sometimes three or four. Several doctors described their work as promotional.”

Fauber looks at concerns that it can be hard to distinguish between education and marketing and that such practices “can influence patient care and raise the cost of treatment, in addition to blurring the line between research and marketing.”

He also points out that it may be difficult to figure out just how much drug company money is going to doctors because some of it goes through medical education and communication companies that are funded by drug companies and used to pay doctors to give speeches.

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