Those of us in the health care industry are, by now, quite used to reading about major prosecutions and settlements by the federal government against drug and device companies for improper relationships with physicians. It is far less common, however, to read about the physicians on the receiving end of those relationships. This, according to an article in the New York Times, is likely about to change.
According to the Times article, authorities are frustrated by what they perceive to be on-going abusive relationships between physicians and industry despite the many high profile actions that have been brought against drug and device companies. To strengthen that message, authorities are now turning their attention to physicians who receive payments from industry. In fact, according to the article, in the coming months the feds intend to file civil and criminal complaints against a number surgeons believed to have demanded lucrative consulting arrangements from device companies.
As relationships between physicians and industry become more transparent (some major drug and device manufacturers are now publishing on the web the names of physicians they pay), physicians should expect that their arrangements may come under scrutiny and should exercise an abundance of caution when considering entering into these relationships.