Medtronic Inc. announced this week that beginning in 2011, it will start disclosing payments of more than $5,000 per year to physicians for consulting fees, royalties or honoraria. According to an article by the Associated Press, Medtronic’s decision comes in response to pressure from federal legislators to disclose the information. Medtronic now joins Eli Lilly & Co. and Pfizer Inc. in making these voluntary disclosures.
Transparency will clearly be a major component of physician-industry financial relationships going forward. Physicians who have or are entertaining these kinds of relationships should be mindful of the implications of these disclosures and, to the extent possible, try to exercise some control (through the underlying service/royalty agreements) over the content of disclosures.