Cleveland Clinic First to Divulge Docs' Drug Ties

Research center strives for complete disclosure on potential conflicts of interest
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 3, 2008 4:35 AM CST
New rules will require all doctors and scientists to report any industry relationship to the clinic at least once a year   (Shutter Stock)
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(Newser) – One of America's leading medical research centers will reveal all links its doctors and scientists have to drug companies and makers of medical devices, the New York Times reports. The move by the Cleveland Clinic—stung by conflict-of-interest accusations when cozy relationships between staff and suppliers have been discovered—is believed to be the first of its kind. Medical ethicists argue that doctors' decisions may be influenced by profits they earn in consulting fees, royalties, and equity interests.

The clinic says less than a quarter of its staff have any business ties to report. Conflicts of interest need to be managed, not eliminated, said the center's chief executive, whose own business dealings were subject to criticism before he cut all his outside ties to the medical industry. Cooperation with industry encourages innovation, he said, but it also makes disclosure vital.