Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Conflicts of interest in orthopaedics and medicine in general

Dear Readers,

Recently there has been a surge in interest and concern regarding conflicts of interest in our field. The primary responsibilities of surgeons, physicians and scientists are to the patient and to the integrity of publications and presentations. When relationships exist with for-profit organizations, these relationships may affect the way patient care and research decisions are made. My friend, colleague and editor of the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, Vern Tolo, has written an editorial on this topic entitled "Interest in Conflicts" which is highly recommended reading.

Part of the way conflicts of interest are managed is through public disclosure. My disclosures can be found here.

Questions remain, however. How can we be sure that the voluntary disclosure of conflicts are complete and accurate? How can we manage the biasing effects of conflicts of interest in a way that assures the integrity of educational programs and published research? And, fundamentally, how can we be assured that the interests of patients are always served above all other interests?

More on this important topic to come!


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