STAT

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

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