Once again I'm indebted to my friends Rick Bukata and Jerry Hoffman at Primary Care Medical Abstracts for pointing out papers that I missed when first published in the last 6 months or so (subscriptions may be required to access articles).
First off is a review by authors from London, Australia, and Stanford U. (the latter being our old pal John Ioannidis). Nothing really new here for regular readers of this blog, but the article is a nice update on the most compelling recent evidence for the various ways that undue industry influence distorts medicine. Those wanting to be sure to cite the most recent and comprehensive evidence will want to have this handy.
Next is a study out of UCSF, co-authored by Lisa Bero, another name familiar to our regular readers. At question here is what conflict-of-interest guidelines govern the activities of the 51 state Medicaid boards that decide what drugs should be covered by these tax-supported plans for low-income patients. The authors were able at first to get only 14 of these guidelines off websites or other easily available sources, and by further correspondence and begging and pleading they eventually got a total of 27 guidelines. Only 4 of the 27 guidelines seemed really strict on banning COI with industry, and in many cases they were told that the guidelines are not for public disclosure. Excuse me? A taxpayer-supported public program, and the guidelines to govern COI are secret??? What the heck is going on here? The overall situation is obviously highly unsatisfactory.
Stamatakis E, Weiler R, Ioannidis JPA. "Undue Industry Influences that Distort Healthcare Research, Strategy, Expenditure and Practice: a Review." European Journal of Clinical Investigation 43:469-475, 2013.
Nguyen NY, Bero L. "Medicaid Drug Selection Committees and Inadequate Management of Conflicts of Interest." JAMA Internal Medicine 173:338-343, March 25, 2013.