We’re told that full disclosure of conflicts of interest by medical investigators is essential and allows readers of journals and attendees at meetings to more understand an author/presenter’s bias. Of course this is difficult as at many such meeting this information is not easily found in the meeting literature. In medical journals the disclosures are as a rule cryptic and uninformative.
Actually the situation is worst than that as noted in the October 8, New England Journal. An article assessing the accuracy of these “disclosures” reported that 20-30% of such payments were completely unreported.
Medicynical Note: Being somewhat cynical I’ve always wondered about the credibility of reports funded by manufacturers. Simply disclosing that money was received doesn’t help me and, if anything, further undermines my trust in the objectivity of the investigators. It would be best if there were no conflicts and the investigator was completely untainted. You may say that’s a pipe dream, but indeed in the 60’s and 70’s and earlier it was exceptionally unusual, if not unheard of, for university based investigators to be paid directly by manufacturers.