Some medical experts that the media rely on as sources have undisclosed financial conflicts of interest.
A recent Slate article1 examines the troubling prevalence of undisclosed financial conflicts of interest among some of the medical experts that the media rely on as sources for disseminating healthcare information.
“Some experts who appear independent are, in fact, serving as stealth marketers for the drug and biotech industries, and reporters either don’t know about their sources’ conflicts of interests, or they fail to disclose them to the public.”
The articles exposes a recent episode of the public radio series, The Infinite Mind called “Prozac Nation: Revisited.” The episode featured four prestigious medical experts, including the host, who discussed the controversial link between anti-depressants and suicide without it ever being revealed that they all had financial ties to manufacturers of anti-depressants. It was also not disclosed that The Infinite Mind receives unrestricted grants from drug makers, including Eli Lilly, Inc., the manufacturer of Prozac.
As a resource for journalists, Slate is currently offering (via email), an international list of nearly 100 prestigious independent medical experts who claim to have had no financial ties to drug and device manufacturers for at least the past five years.
1 Brownlee, Shannon and Lenzer, Jeanne, Stealth Marketers: Are Doctors Shilling For Drug Companies on Public Radio?, Slate 6 May 2008, http://www.slate.com/id/2190775/
Apr. 2006-2008 Review, HealthNewsReview.org, http://www.healthnewsreview.org
Scope and Impact of Financial Conflicts of Interest in Biomedical Research, JAMA 22 Jan. 2003, http://jama.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/abstract/289
Association Between Industry Funding and Statistically Significant Pro-Industry Findings in Medical and Surgical Randomized Trials, CMAJ 14 Feb. 2004, http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?artid=332713
Institutional Academic–Industry Relationships, JAMA 17 Oct. 2007, http://jama.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/short/298/15/1779