Ties to the pharmaceutical industry are very common among physicians creating medical guidelines, according to a Globe and Mail analysis.
This is a huge problem as the bias has the potential to skew the guidelines towards less efficient (or even unnecessary or harmful) treatments for patients.
The Globe’s analysis found that financial conflicts of interest are commonplace on guideline committees. Forty-six per cent of the panelists involved in the nine guideline documents reviewed by The Globe received some funding from companies that might benefit from a positive mention of their drugs. In three cases, more than 75 per cent of the panelists declared a conflict. In two, the guidelines were financed directly by the pharmaceutical industry.
It’s a bit like having a trial against a mafia boss, where 75 percent of the jury members admit to having recently taken money from the mafia. That would be a joke. And arguably medical guidelines may affect even more people’s lives than a court case. It’s ridiculous that it’s still considered even remotely acceptable for industry to pay the people who decide on the guidelines.