BLOGSCAN - Why Are Conflicts of Interest Important?

On the PharmaLot blog, Ed Silverman interviewed Eric Campbell about why conflicts of interest are important in clinical research and medical education:

It matters because patients rely on the advice and the wisdom of their doctors in making health care decisions. And they rely on the fact that their doctor has their best interests at heart and that academic science is true and unbiased and not influenced by commercial pressures. So when conflicts of interest exist, it brings into question the basic trust and value of these relationships. It’s important for Americans that institutions take these relationships very seriously, and that they’re disclosed and watched and monitored. Remember that not all academics, but many are opinion leaders in medicine - they lead a specialty, head a professional association and are well known. If one of them makes a presentation about a beneift of a drug, it can influence the reaction of doctors in the audience and the doctors they know. So it’s important to know the nature of these relationships. Disclosure becomes a necessary step but it’s not a sufficient step.