In the News

One in 12 doctors receive payments from opioid makers

Modern Health - One in 12 U.S. doctors accepted payments from opioid manufacturers from 2013 to 2015, raising questions over how drug companies may influence prescribing practices. Read more

Conflict-of-Interest Rules Are Holding Back Medical Breakthroughs

Harvard Business Review - Few issues are more foundational to driving improvements in human health than creating productive, progressive relationships between clinical medicine and the biopharmaceutical industry. Read more

Dispute over battery research pits UW prof against business partner

The Record - The University of Waterloo says it's returning a $480,000 government grant to develop rechargeable batteries for military use — after a falling-out between a professor and a business partner who alleges his signature was forged to get the federal funding.

Monsanto Emails Raise Issue of Influencing Research on Roundup Weed Killer

The New York Times - Documents released Tuesday in a lawsuit against Monsanto raised new questions about the company’s efforts to influence the news media and scientific research and revealed internal debate over the safety of its highest-profile product, the weed killer Roundup. Read more

Industry Payments to Physicians: Confronting Conflicts of Interest

Cancer Therapy Advisor - A study of 19 non-oncology academic medical centers found, however, that restricting pharmaceutical company representatives' access to physicians (sales visits known as “detailing”) led to “modest but significant” declines in prescribing of drugs promoted by those representatives for most (6 of 8) drug classes. Read more

CRISPR heavyweights battle in US patent court

Nature - It was a tough day in US patent court for the University of California, Berkeley. On 6 December, lawyers for the university laid out its claim to the gene-editing tool called CRISPR–Cas9 during a hearing at the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) — and drew intense, sometimes sceptical, questioning from the three judges who will decide the fate of patents that could be worth billions of dollars. Read More

Citizen expectations of 'academic entrepreneurship' in health research: public science, practical benefit

Health Expectations - We explore citizen expectations of the specifically academic nature of commercial science [i.e. academic entrepreneurship (AE)] and the influence of conflict of interest concerns, hopes about practical benefits and general beliefs. Read More

Reviews Of Medical Studies May Be Tainted By Funders' Influence

NPR - When doctors want to help untangle confusing and sometimes contradictory findings in the scientific literature, they often turn to specially crafted summary studies. These are considered the gold standard for evidence. But one of the leading advocates for this practice is now raising alarm about them, because they are increasingly being tainted by commercial interests. Read More

Should a paper be retracted if an author omits a conflict of interest?

Retraction Watch -- A JAMA journal has quickly issued a correction for a 2016 paper after the author failed to mention several relevant conflicts of interest. Read More

When Doctors have conflicts of interest

NPR -- It’s complicated. Certainly, the relationships doctors have with drug or device manufacturers drive innovation, and help make those products better for patients. But can we ever be sure these relationships aren’t influencing the purity of our practice of medicine, even a little? Read More(link is external)

Doctors Who Accepted Meals from Drug Makers Prescribed More of Their Pills

STAT -- Doctors who were fed meals costing even less than $20 later prescribed certain brand-name pills more often than rival medicines, according to a new analysis (link is external)published on Monday of a federal database. Read More(link is external)

In Medical Research, Financial Conflicts of Interest Do Matter

Boston Globe -- Financial conflicts of interest matter. They can best be defined as any financial association (or promise of one in the future) that would give researchers an incentive to distort their work. Read More