Conflicts of Interest: Is There Really a Need for Transparency?

March 27, 2009

As controversy mounts about the potential for conflicts of interest among physicians with ties to the pharmaceutical industry, the need for transparency in the medical field continues to grow. More and more questions are being asked by the general public and by physicians themselves about the influence of pharmaceutical companies on physicians’ prescribing habits, and several prominent psychiatrists are under Senate investigation for alleged conflicts of interest.

As controversy mounts about the potential for conflicts of interest among physicians with ties to the pharmaceutical industry, the need for transparency in the medical field continues to grow. More and more questions are being asked by the general public and by physicians themselves about the influence of pharmaceutical companies on physicians' prescribing habits, and several prominent psychiatrists are under Senate investigation for alleged conflicts of interest.

Psychiatric Times has been in the vanguard of this ongoing debate with a cover article on conflicts of inter­est policies and practices in its Au­gust 2008 issue. We have taken a stance on this issue and have asked our editorial board to provide disclo­sures that are now posted on the Psy­chiatric Times Web site.

To find out how our readers feel about this issue, we recently under­took a survey to determine our read­ers’ thoughts on conflicts of interest and the need for transparency. The response was overwhelming, and some of the responses surprised us. Click here to view the PDF summary of the results.