financial conflicts of interest

“… the financial relationship between these newly independent physicians and industry begin to develop in the first year after graduation from their training programs and continued to expand in the early years of independent physician practice.” Financial relationship? A new study suggests that “gifting” physicians begins early. Still, I believe the study casts more shade than light.
In 2010 the Physician Payment Sunshine Act was passed, requiring pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers to report all payments to physicians, be it royalties, speaking fees, or the proverbial “free lunch.” The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) and the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) share the #1 and 2 spot for impactful journals in the US. The authors of their articles are the thought-leaders in our medical understanding, but as a new study points out, reporting their conflicted interests, at least the financial ones, remains challenging.
All types of arguments are made to refute: a study; bad measurements; flawed analysis; and the insidious evil intent (or at least bias). A new analysis seeks to describe conflicted interests. (Spoiler alert for those ready to blame Big Pharma, Big Device, and prescribers. They are only the tip of the iceberg.)
A new study thinks the answer is yes. But is it? The old adage "if it ain’t broke, then don't fix it” comes to mind.