Medical Societies and Industry Sponsorships

May 12, 2011
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Maybe money can’t buy you love…but can it buy you influence over physician treatment choices? That’s what many pharmaceutical and medical device firms are betting on.

Maybe money can’t buy you love…but can it buy you influence over physician treatment choices? That’s what many pharmaceutical and medical device firms are betting on.

Concerns about the influence of industry money have prompted universities [10] [10] such as Stanford and the University of Colorado-Denver to ban drug sales representatives from the halls of their hospitals and bar doctors from paid promotional speaking.  Yet, one area of medicine still welcomes the largesse: societies that represent specialists.

…Nearly half the $16 million the heart society collected in 2010 came from makers of drugs, catheters and defibrillators used to control abnormal heart rhythms, the group’s website disclosed.  Officials of the Heart Rhythm Society say industry money does not buy influence and is essential to developing new treatments.

Are these sponsorships a mechanisms for disseminating information to providers on new treatment options or a method of convincing physicians to change their treatment patterns. The distinction between physician education and marketing is often blurred.