Drug, device companies' payments to teaching hospitals may spark conflict of interest, study suggests

Teaching hospitals received $832 million in payments from drug- and devicemakers for purposes other than research in 2018, according to an analysis published Sept. 8 in Health Affairs.

The study looked at 1,281 teaching hospitals, 91 percent of which brought in money from drug- and devicemakers for royalties, continuing education, consultations, speaking fees, space rentals and gifts. One-fifth of these teaching hospitals received more than 90 percent of the $832 million drug- and devicemakers gave in 2018.

In 2018, 529 companies said they made at least one payment to teaching hospitals. About half made medical devices and supplies, about a quarter made drugs and about a quarter produced a mix of both. More than 58 percent of these companies said they paid fewer than $100,000 to teaching hospitals, while 60 companies said they made more than $1 million in payments.

"Financial relationships between industry and teaching hospitals have the potential to create conflicts of interest as a result of the multiple roles these hospitals serve in caring for patients, training the next generation of health care providers, and conducting clinical and translational research," the study's authors wrote in Health Affairs.

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