Grassley trying to sniff out conflicts of interest with med groups

Everyone's favorite crusader--Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa)--is continuing in his quest to get a clear picture of how money flows from drug and devicemakers to the medical community.

This time around Sen. Grassley has sent letters to 33 medical groups--including the American Medical Association, the Alzheimer's Association and the American Cancer Society--asking them to share details on how much money they and their directors receive from industry.

Groups quoted in a piece by the New York Times were quick to assure the world that they're planning to jump however high Grassley asks, though some were reluctant to say exactly how much of their funding was coming from drug or devicemakers. (The American Medical Association, for its part, went on the record to say that the group receives less than 2 percent of its budget from such sources.)

Demanding such information from the group's directors may cause something of a firestorm. To date, virtually no patient advocacy or medical groups have given more than a general accounting of how reliant they are on industry, much less how their directors benefit from such relationships.

To get more data on Grassley's request:
- read this piece from the New York Times

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