Conflicts of Interest:Medtronics and Infuse

Conflicts of interest continue to bedevil medical information.

I just received my Amgen sponsored American Society of Clinical Oncology education booklet and at the meetings later this month there will be all manner of company sponsored events. Many of the speakers will have noted their paid employee/consultant status for sponsoring companies.

This from the NY Times suggests that our system of research support and clinicians on the payroll of drug companies has problems.

“A former surgeon at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, who is a paid consultant for a medical company, published a study that made false claims and overstated the benefits”

“reported that a bone-growth product sold by Medtronic Inc.had much higher success in healing the shattered legs of wounded soldiersat Walter Reed than other doctors there had experienced,”

A former Walter Reed colleague, Dr. David W. Polly Jr., who is also a Medtronic consultant, (Medicynical emphasis) said he believed that Dr. Kuklo’s data was “strong””

“The results reported by Dr. Kuklo in his Infuse study “suggested a much higher efficacy of the product being researched in the article than is supported by the experience of the purported co-authors,”

Medicynical note: What’s a medicynic to do? View company sponsored studies with suspicion? Disregard all company sponored drug studies? Look for studies not tainted by conflicts of interest? Hope that in the future comparison studies of efficacy (opposed by drug companies) clarify the benefits and risk of various treatments?

Come to think of it, why in the world would companies dedicated to knowledge and the improvement of medical outcomes oppose studies of efficacy?

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