Three-Quarters of Members of “Expert” Medical Guideline Panels Have Ties to Drug Industry

Saturday, August 17, 2013

The vast majority of medical experts in the U.S. who help formulate disease and diagnostic guidelines are taking money from the pharmaceutical industry, according to a new study.

 

The research published in the journal PLoS Medicine found that 75% of panelists who propose changes in disease definitions and diagnostic criteria had been paid by drug companies either as consultants, advisers or speakers.

 

Among those serving as chairs of these panels, 12 out of 14 were financially connected to the drug industry.

 

“Companies with financial relationships with the greatest proportion of panel members were marketing or developing drugs for the same conditions about which those members were making critical judgements,” Ray Moynihan, of Bond University in Robina, Australia, and colleagues wrote.

 

Examples cited by the researchers included GlaxoSmithKline, which had paid 20 of the 24 members of a 2009 task force that developed new definitions regarding asthma. It just so happens that the company sells the billion-dollar Advair, used to help asthma patients.

 

Also, Biogen, maker of the multiple sclerosis drug interferon beta-1a (Avonex), had ties to 13 of the 18 participants on a 2010 MS panel that expanded the definition to simplify diagnosis, the study revealed.

-Noel Brinkerhoff

 

To Learn More:

Expanding Disease Definitions in Guidelines and Expert Panel Ties to Industry: A Cross-sectional Study of Common Conditions in the United States (by Raymond N. Moynihan, Georga P. E. Cooke, Jenny A. Doust, Lisa Bero, Suzanne Hill and Paul P. Glasziou, PLoS Medicine)

Pharma Ties Common on Guideline Panels (by David Pittman, MedPage Today)

Experts Related to Drug Makers Promote Narcotics for Seniors in Pain (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)

Doctors who Earn Hundreds of Thousands of Dollars Speaking for Drug Companies (by David Wallechinsky, AllGov)

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