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Managing Financial and Nonfinancial Conflicts of Interest in Healthcare Delivery

Kesselheim, Aaron S MD, JD, MPH1*; Maisel, William H MD, MPH2

American Journal of Therapeutics: July/August 2010 - Volume 17 - Issue 4 - pp 440-443
doi: 10.1097/MJT.0b013e3181d01cae
Commentary

The issue of conflicts of interest held by physicians and other caregivers has drawn increased attention in recent years. In response, some commentators and institutions have proposed policies intended to protect patients' rights, including disclosure of relationships with for-profit companies. Conflicts of interest policies must balance the need for transparency and patient safety, but must also take into account the positive aspects of such relationships, including innovative product development. This article discusses various types of conflicts that can and do occur in healthcare delivery and potential policy options that may address these issues. The case history, device, physician, and patient described below do not represent actual people or events, but are intended to be emblematic of the challenges faced in the current medical marketplace.

1Division of Pharmacoepidemiology and Pharmacoeconomics, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, MA; and 2Medical Device Safety Institute, Department of Medicine, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, MA.

*Address for correspondence: Division of Pharmacoepidemiology and Pharmacoeconomics, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, MA 02115. E-mail: akesselheim@partners.org

© 2010 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.