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[IP] Doctors, Drug Co. Links Studied

I doubt this article will come as a surprise to the IP List members ;-)

Linda V

Doctors, Drug Co. Links Studied

.c The Associated Press

CHICAGO (AP) - A survey of doctors who wrote treatment guidelines for common 
diseases such as diabetes and arthritis found that most had ties to drug 
companies, but few thought those ties influenced their recommendations. 

The findings, published in Wednesday's Journal of the American Medical 
Association, suggest drug company connections could have compromised the 
doctors' ability to create objective guidelines that served patients' best 

Among those who responded to the survey, 58 percent said they had received 
research funding from drug companies and 38 percent said they had served as 
company employees or consultants. 

Moreover, 59 percent of the doctors said they had ties to pharmaceutical 
companies whose drugs were considered in the drafting of the guidelines they 

Of these authors, 96 percent said the relationships were formed before the 
guidelines were created. Only 7 percent thought the ties affected their own 
guideline recommendations, although 19 percent thought such ties influenced 
their co-authors' recommendations. 

``Unfortunately, bias may occur both consciously and subconsciously, and 
therefore its influence may go unrecognized,'' lead author Dr. Niteesh 
Choudhry and his colleagues at the University of Toronto said in the study. 

The results were based on a survey mailed to 192 doctors involved with 
creating 44 ``clinical practice guidelines'' for treating diseases. Only 100 
doctors provided usable responses, and whether they accurately assessed drug 
companies' influence over them is not known, the survey authors said. 

The survey was mailed to authors of guidelines endorsed by North American and 
European medical societies and published between 1991 and 1999. 

Guidelines were for the treatment of asthma and chronic obstructive lung 
disease, cardiovascular disease, heart failure, depression, diabetes, peptic 
ulcers, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, osteoarthritis and pneumonia. 
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