In a recent study, comparing significant payments made to “consultants” by orthopedic device companies, it was concluded there was a lack of public transparency when those “consultants” contributed to medical journal articles. The study, published on The Archives of Internal Medicine website, involved 32 medical doctors and researchers who were paid at least $1 million in 2007 and published one or more journal articles in 2008. The study concluded that 25 out of 32 of those “consultants” to the medical device companies, or their publishers, failed to reveal their financial connections in the journal articles.
The failure to disclose the financial relationships between the doctors, researchers, medical device companies and the journals calls into serious question the validity, integrity and safety of the products written about in medical journals that are reviewed by health care providers throughout the world. This conduct also calls into question the possible widespread abuse and corruption that may permeate the entire medical research industry. Readers of these studies should be given all of the information about the device, including any possible bias (financial or otherwise) so they can draw their own independent conclusions on the efficacy of the medical equipment, devices and pharmaceuticals.
It was reported that five companies (Zimmer, DePuy Orthopaedics, Stryker, Biomet and Smith & Nephew) paid about $250 million to consultants in 2007 including royalties. Of that money, approximately $114 million went to 41 doctors.