“As a physician in Washington, DC, [Dr. Wen] has become increasingly troubled by conflicts of interest that are apparent to doctors but hidden from patients. She sees full transparency as part of “a renewed professionalism.” This should extend beyond payments from industry, she says; doctors should also make clear to patients how they are reimbursed. Payment structures such as fees for services (or, in the UK, the Quality and Outcomes Framework) incentivise doctors to order tests or to provide specific treatments. Patients need to be able to ask whether tests and treatments are being prescribed because they are in their best interests or because they benefit the doctor, she says….
…Not everyone will welcome such moves with open arms. Wen reports extreme hostility to her initiative from some doctors [see link to article], and McCartney and colleagues acknowledge that being required to declare sources of income will concern some. But declarations of interest are now standard practice for publication in medical journals. The same should be true for our dealings with patients.”
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