Professional News
Medical Center Reveals Staff's Financial Ties
Psychiatric News
Volume 44 Number 2 page 8-8

The Cleveland Clinic has begun to disclose industry relationships of its physicians and researchers on its Web-based directory, the organization announced on December 3, 2008.

If a physician has a financial relationship, such as royalty, or a consulting service that pays $5,000 or more a year with a drug or device company, his or her Web listing will contain the name of the company and the nature of these relationships. The public can search for specific physicians online by their last names. If there are no relationships with industry, the listing will say so.

Physicians and researchers employed by the organization are required to report all industry relationships at least once a year to the Innovation Management and Conflict of Interest Committee for review and approval.

"As far as we are aware, Cleveland Clinic will be the first academic medical center in the U.S. to disclose to its patients and the public the industry ties of its physicians," said Joseph Hahn, M.D., chief of staff, in the organization's press release.

The relationships among industry, medicine, and research have come under increasing scrutiny in recent years, and ties that create potential conflicts of interests are criticized by consumer advocates, media, and regulators. In 2008, Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) opened investigations into several prominent psychiatric researchers for allegedly failing to disclose income from drug companies.

Several years ago, Cleveland Clinic was associated with controversies as media revealed financial ties between some of its researchers and medical-device companies that raised conflict-of-interest questions.

With increasing calls for transparency, several large pharmaceutical companies including Eli Lilly and Merck, announced plans to post the names of physicians who receive gifts or payments above $500 on the company Web sites for public access in 2009 (Psychiatric News, October 17, 2008).

Cleveland Clinic's searchable physician directory can be accessed at<http://my.clevelandclinic.org>.

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