Health News Review

See the latest in ProPublica’s “Dollars for Doctors” series, this one headlined “Financial Ties Bind Medical Societies To Drug and Device Makers.” It begins:

“From the time they arrived to the moment they laid their heads on hotel pillows, the thousands of cardiologists attending this week’s Heart Rhythm Society conference have been bombarded with pitches for drugs and medical devices.

St. Jude Medical adorns every hotel key card. Medtronic ads are splashed on buses, banners and the stairs underfoot. Logos splay across shuttle bus headrests, carpets and cellphone-charging stations.

At night, a drug firm gets the last word: A promo for the heart drug Multaq stood on each doctor’s nightstand Wednesday.

Who arranged this commercial barrage? The society itself, which sold access to its members and their purchasing power.”

Why does this matter? ProPublica reminds readers that the society’s “5,100 members are gatekeepers for billions spent on medical procedures.”

Be sure to see the sidebars in the left margin, including an interactive graphic that lets you see who bought what and how much they paid the society.

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