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Multiple Sclerosis Patients Want Full Disclosure

multiple sclerosis patients want full disclosure

Individuals with multiple sclerosis want to know what’s going on behind closed doors concerning drug research for this disease. A new study shows that MS patients want full disclosure concerning the financial relationship between the doctors and the drug companies in pharmaceutical industry-sponsored clinical trials (ISCTs) before they will agree to participate in such research.


Andrew Solomon, MD, a neurologist and MS specialist at the University of Vermont, and his colleagues from several other universities and medical centers, recently reported their findings in the Multiple Sclerosis Journal. They came to this conclusion after reviewing the responses on an anonymous survey completed by 522 individuals with multiple sclerosis.

Clinical trials
Participation in clinical trials has the potential to provide benefits for the subjects as well as other current and future patients, along with yielding critical information for the investigators. However, when there are financial relationships between physicians and pharmaceutical companies involved in such research, red flags are raised about bias and the validity of the findings.

If you agree to participate in pharmaceutical industry-sponsored clinical trials (as well as other types of clinical trials), you are provided with information about the study, including its risks, in an informed consent document, which you need to sign before you can participate in the research. However, currently you do not see information concerning potential financial conflicts of interest regarding the participating physicians, such as monies generated by the trial or fees given to the doctors for consulting services or speaking engagements.

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New study
According to Solomon, he and his associates decided to conduct this study because “direct industry financial support of physicians, physician practices, and academic departments involved in MS therapy-related multicenter ISCTs are an infrequently acknowledged source of potential physician conflict of interest,” and they wanted to know how individuals with multiple sclerosis felt about this topic.

The authors learned that most of the surveyed individuals with multiple sclerosis believed that it was important for doctor-pharmaceutical company relationships to be disclosed. Respondents also rated monies paid toward the principal investigator’s salary as the most important thing they wanted to know about the physician-drug industry financial relationships.

Solomon and his team, who noted that “avoidance or minimization of potential conflicts of interest is the goal,” also stated that more research is needed on this issue. How do you feel? Do you believe patients have the right to know about potential conflicts of interest before they agree to participate in clinical trials?

Read about participating in a study on falling in multiple sclerosis




where is the list of doc's and pharma meds for ms? only see what was written about about clinic trials. I wanna see who the docs are that get $ for a kick back for promoting the ms drugs.
Jennifer: This article reported on the findings of one survey; it was not concerned with doctors who get kickbacks for promoting MS (or any other) drugs. I would guess that if MS patients (or any patients for that matter) were asked if they wanted to know about doctor kickbacks, everyone would want to know. However, do you think doctors who are receiving kickbacks will admit to it? As for conflicts of interest in medical research, you can check for "Disclosures," typically at the end of the articles. However, this is far from perfect. You can learn more about conflict of interest issues on the website for WAME--World Association for Medical Editors.