Spine surgeon group demands greater disclosure of devicemaker ties

A medical group representing U.S. spinal surgeons has taken an unusually tough stand on disclosure of conflicts of interest, demanding that researchers affiliated with the group disclose not just their financial ties with medical devicemakers, but also the dollar amounts involved.

The North American Spine Society has been under major pressure on this front from legislators and prosecutors, who have accused devicemakers of improperly boosting demand by paying what essentially were kickbacks to physicians.

In recent times, high-profile surgeons doing research have been found to have very substantial relationships with medical devicemakers. Medical-implant makers Zimmer Holdings, Stryker Corp., DePuy Orthopedics and Biomet have paid out more than $221 million to surgeons they deemed "consultants," according to a Senate committee cited by the Wall Street Journal.

To learn more about the group's position:
- read this Wall Street Journal piece (sub. req.)

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