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Cleveland Clinic To Disclose Physician's Business Links

Armen Hareyan's picture
Cleveland Clinic

In what's believed to be a first for a major U.S. medical center, the Cleveland Clinic this week started to publicly report business ties between its 1,800 staff doctors and scientists and drug and medical device makers.

Disclousure of such financial links are posted on the Web site of the clinic, one of the nation's leading medical research centers.

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"They are breaking a new path here," Dr. David J. Rothman, president of the nonprofit Institute on Medicine as a Profession, told The New York Times. The Columbia University-based group studies potential conflicts of interest. Also read: Doctors have stronger ties to drug and pharmaceutical industry than ever.

In the United States, doctors' and scientists' connections to industry are often kept secret, a practice that can harm the integrity of medical research and patient care, according to critics.

The Cleveland Clinic's move was praised by Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R- Iowa), who's introduced legislation to force drug and medical device makers to disclose payments they make to doctors.

"Patients deserve easy access to information about their doctors' relationships with drug companies and the Cleveland Clinic is making that possible," Grassley said in a statement, the Times reported.