Protecting Patient Interests
Collaboration between doctors and the medical device industry must be based on solid principles to avoid the potential for conflicts of interest. These conflicts, both real and perceived, can affect patient and stakeholder confidence in clinicians, products, companies – and the entire medical device industry.
Collaboration is presently under critical review as a result of both increased industry scrutiny and budget constraints among healthcare payers, including federal, state, and local governments. This, in turn, has fueled increasing public demand to ensure healthcare decisions are unbiased, to preserve the integrity of the physician-patient relationship, to address conflicts of interest – both real and perceived – and to enhance confidence.
Leading the Way to Minimize Conflict of Interest
Medtronic has been an industry leader in enhancing confidence in physician collaborations and ensuring patient’s interests are protected. In 2010, we enhanced our internal policies and procedures around physician collaboration and compensation – with a goal to sustain innovation through principled collaboration so that patients continue to benefit from advances in medical care.
We were among the first healthcare companies to voluntary disclose compensation paid to physicians for certain services. In 2010, we began publishing a public registry listing physician compensation of $5,000 or more in a calendar year for product development, training and education, royalties, and advisory services — well before the original U.S. Physician Payments Sunshine Act deadline of Jan. 1, 2012.
As an industry leader, we must continuously evolve and improve the confidence that is essential to the system of collaboration, and, by extension, to protect patients’ access to therapy advancement and innovation. This is especially important today, given the challenges facing healthcare systems, and the importance of evidence-based medicine.