Opinion: Is there a conflict of interest behind your cancer diagnosis?

Relatively few people explore their pathologist's financial conflicts of interest. More should do that: 1 in 4 pathologists gets payments from industry.

My mother was astonished when I told her about the national Open Payments database that was launched by the Affordable Care Act. “You mean I can see all the money drug companies have given to a doctor? Even my doctor?” We plugged her doctor’s name into the database and up it popped, associated with a number of payments. He had recently prescribed an expensive, brand-name drug for my mother; she had questioned whether a cheaper, older alternative might be just as good. It turned out that her doctor had received payments from the company producing that brand-name drug.

I don’t know, of course, if her doctor’s recommendation had been influenced by these payments or if his choice

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from STAT

STAT3 min readScience
Lasker Award Recipient Had Retracted Some Of His Work — a Sign Of Strength, Not Sloppiness
While retractions are usually seen as black marks on a career, a signal of sloppy or dishonest research, sometimes the opposite is true.
STAT3 min read
FDA And EMA Are Now Probing Carcinogen In Zantac And Other Heartburn Meds
At issue is NDMA, an organic chemical that was once used to make rocket fuel and is an unintended by-product of certain chemical reactions.
STAT4 min read
Purdue Pharma Filed For Bankruptcy. What Does It Mean For Lawsuits Against The Opioid Manufacturer?
Purdue Pharma filed for bankruptcy. What does it mean for lawsuits against the opioid manufacturer?