Intended for healthcare professionals


US researchers’ conflicts of interest are still widespread and under-reported, investigations find

BMJ 2019; 367 doi: (Published 11 December 2019) Cite this as: BMJ 2019;367:l6931
  1. Owen Dyer
  1. Montreal

Industry payments that could skew research results are still commonplace in the United States and frequently go unnoticed despite years of effort to police such practices better, two investigations by the non-profit public interest journalism group ProPublica have found.

Federally funded health researchers reported more than 8000 significant financial conflicts of interest worth at least $188m in total (£143m; €169m) since 2012, said ProPublica’s review of data held by the National Institutes of Health.1 The institutes’ database has never been publicly seen before, and the findings were obtained through a freedom of information request.

A second investigation found that dozens of researchers at the University of California (UC), including influential heads of medical departments, had reported to their employer only a fraction of the payments that drug companies reported having given them on the government’s Open Payments database.2

Two thirds of nearly 90 UC health faculty members whose …

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