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Medical Product Industry Has Sizable Network of Ties to Health Care

Map derived through synthesis of 538 articles from 37 countries showed extensive network within health care ecosystem

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THURSDAY, Nov. 4, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- Within the health care ecosystem, there is an extensive network of medical product industry ties to activities and parties, according to research published online Nov. 3 in The BMJ.

Susan Chimonas, Ph.D., from the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City, and colleagues identified all known ties between the medical product industry and the health care ecosystem in a scoping review. A map was derived through synthesis of 538 articles from 37 countries to show the network of industry ties across parties and activities in the health care ecosystem.

According to the researchers, the map showed an extensive network of medical product industry ties to activities, including research, health care education, guideline development, formulary selection, and clinical care, as well as parties such as nonprofit entities, the health care profession, the market supply chain, and government. Through multiple pathways, the medical product industry has direct ties to all parties and some activities; direct ties extend through interrelationships among parties and activities. The most frequently identified parties were within the health care profession, including individual professionals in 78 percent of the studies. Fifty-six percent of the publications documented medical product industry ties to research; clinical care, health professional education, guideline development, and formulary selection appeared less often (29, 27, 6, and 1 percent, respectively).

"The medical product industry maintains numerous ties with all major health care parties and activities. This extensive network of ties is often unregulated and nontransparent," the authors write. "Enhanced oversight and transparency are needed to shield patient care from commercial influence and to preserve public trust in health care."

Two authors disclosed financial ties to the biopharmaceutical and health care industries.

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