Paul R. Lichter, MD, MS
While physicians and industry must cooperate in research to discover new treatments and cures that benefit patients, another outcome of financial relationships between physicians and industry is the promotion of industry’s drugs and devices. The latter relationships are called voluntary financial relationships since they are not of clear benefit to patients as are research relationships. Our research is assessing the prevalence of physician-industry financial relationships in the context of the annual scientific meetings of a physician-led medical association. We are interested in the association of these relationships with program presenter prominence in the meeting. The ethical implications of these relationships is a significant issue with which individual physicians and their physician-led medical associations must deal. We are studying these ethical implications.