Monday, August 3, 2009

New Blog Items: Key Opinion Leaders; Ghostwriting

Today I can put my feet up and let Dr. Roy Poses' Health Care Renewal blog do all the heavy lifting.

First: Recent relevations about Dr. David Polly, a spine surgeon at U-MN. Seems he made about a cool million serving as a consultant to Medtronic, the device maker that supplies many orthopedic products. Dr. Polly for instance testified before Congress and claimed to be representing the national orthopedic academy, but did not disclose that Medtronic paid all his expenses. The fun part of this post is that you get to look at the actual billing records that Dr. Polly sent to Medtronic, which were released after being requested by Sen. Charles Grassley. In case you wondered what 5 minutes of Dr. Polly's time is worth, it's $49.48; for a whole day it's above $4000. The real issue is that the records show a lot of activity clearly related to marketing and lobbying, and much less clearly related to research and scientific progress.

Next: A judge has ruled against drug maker Wyeth in a big lawsuit about hormone replacement therapy. Documents regarding Wyeth's extensive ghostwriting campaign in relation to the drugs have been ordered to be released. Presumably the records deal with some 40 papers published in medical journals. But don't worry--the Wyeth lawyer has rushed to reassure us that while the papers were indeed ghostwritten and hence fraudulent, they are nonetheless "fair, balanced, and scientific."

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