Invited Commentary |

Industry Payments to Physicians:  Comment on “Financial Payments by Orthopedic Device Makers to Orthopedic Surgeons”

Robert Steinbrook, MD
Arch Intern Med. 2011;171(19):1765-1766. doi:10.1001/archinternmed.2011.439.
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In September 2007, the 5 companies that sell most of the hip and knee implants in the United States averted criminal prosecution over illegal kickbacks by accepting federal monitoring and new corporate compliance procedures.1 A federal probe had revealed that the manufacturers commonly used consulting contracts to induce orthopedic surgeons to choose their implants. Among other provisions, the companies agreed to disclose the names of all the physicians they paid as consultants—and the amounts paid to each—on their Web sites and, in new consulting agreements, require their consultants to disclose their financial associations to their patients. Between 2007 and 2008, both the amounts of payments to surgeons for ongoing consulting activity and the number receiving payments declined.1

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The American Medical Association is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The AMA designates this journal-based CME activity for a maximum of 1 AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM per course. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. Physicians who complete the CME course and score at least 80% correct on the quiz are eligible for AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM.
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The Right Forum
Posted on January 16, 2012
Michael B. Mundorff, MBA, MHSA
Primary Children’s Medical Center
Conflict of Interest: None Declared
I concur that this commentary and the study by Hockenberry et al. upon which it is based are important knowledge. But since there are very few internists who perform joint replacements, is it preaching to the choir? Does an internist know the financial relationships and possible conflicts of interest of an orthopedist to whom a patient may be referred?
Conflict of Interest: None declared
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