Over on the Hooked blog, Howard Brody dissects the latest device industry scandal from Oregon, where Biotronik has been paying cardiologists extra fees ranging from $400 to $1250 to implant their defibrillators and pacemakers while a device rep is in the room.
Are these payments a conflict of interest? Yes, obviously they are, which is why the Oregon Department of Justice is investigating.
Do doctors have to tell patients about the payments? Biotronik says no, and so does Penn bioethicist Jonathan Moreno -- at least in an "affadavit" provided by Biotronik. But as Brody notes: "An obvious question--unanswered in Budnick's coverage--is how much payment Prof. Moreno received for this service to Biotronik."