Groups question industry payments to medical trade groups

When looking at a recent settlement between the U.S. government and a handful over orthopedic-device makers, observers have focused mostly on charges that the companies paid off physicians. However, a closer look at the payments disclosed by companies like Biomet, Smith & Nephew and Stryker Corp. suggests that medical associations got a share of the booty as well--and raises further questions as to how widespread such influence-buying deals are. The disclosures, which were required as a part of the settlement between these companies and the U.S. Department of Justice, detailed a collective $1.5 million in payments to medical-profession associations, including the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, American Association of Hip and Knee Surgeons and National Association of Orthopaedic Nurses. 

While the trade groups themselves seem to think that receiving device- and drugmaker funding doesn't meaningfully influence their judgment, some industry watchdogs disagree. One, the Center for Medicine as a Profession, is developing guidelines for relationships between professional associations and industry. The guidelines include a recommendation that medical associations ban vendor marketing bashes from annual conferences and continuing education events.

To find out more about this issue:
- read this Modern Physician article (reg. req.)

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