KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

UCLA Surgeon Didn’t Report Payments From Medical Companies

Jeffrey Wang, chief of spine surgery at the University of California, Los Angeles "failed to disclose payments from medical companies while he was researching their products' use in patients, according to records obtained by congressional investigators," The Wall Street Journal reports.  A "May 21 letter from Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA) to the school's chancellor" says Wang "didn't inform the school of $459,500 he was paid by companies from 2004 through 2007," including surgical-product makers.   Dr. Wang, who "serves on the board of the 5,000-member North American Spine Society, and on the editorial boards of several medical journals, "checked 'no' when asked if he received income of $500" from "companies funding his clinical research" at UCLA.

Sen. Grassley and other lawmakers have "accused a number of schools of doing a poor job policing conflicts of interest among researchers" and said they are "concerned doctors' research and treatment decisions may be unduly influenced by payments from drug companies and medical-device makers."  Sen. Grassley is sponsoring a bill that would "require national disclosure." Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Vermont and West Virginia have already enacted laws requiring medical companies to disclose payments to in-state doctors, with certain exceptions" (Armstrong and Burton, 5/28).

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