Physician financial conflict of interest is a concern in the delivery of medicine because of its possible influence on the cost and the quality of patient care. There has been an extensive discussion of the ethical, economic, and legal aspects of this issue but little direct empirical evidence of its magnitude or effects.
A nationally representative survey (n = 4,720) was used to empirically examine physician self-report of receipt of financial gifts from the pharmaceutical and medical devices industry and its association with their ability to provide quality care.
Results indicate that the vast majority of physicians receive industry gifts in various forms, and the receipt of gifts is associated with lower perceived quality of patient care. There is also an inverse relationship between the frequency of received gifts and the perceived quality of care.
Physicians need to be aware of the widespread receipt of industry gifts in medical practice and the potential adverse impact of such receipts on the delivery of care.
Doohee Lee, PhD, is Associate Professor, Division of Management, Marketing, MIS, Graduate School of Management, College of Business, Marshall University, Charleston, West Virginia. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Charles E. Begley, PhD, is Professor, Division of Management, Policy, and Community Health, The University of Texas School of Public Health, Houston, Texas. E-mail: email@example.com.
The authors have disclosed that they have no significant relationship with, or financial interest in, any commercial companies pertaining to this article.