Journal of General Internal Medicine

, Volume 34, Issue 2, pp 195–197 | Cite as

Internal Medicine Physicians’ Financial Relationships with Industry: An Updated National Estimate

  • Aaron S. KesselheimEmail author
  • Steven Woloshin
  • Zhigang Lu
  • Frazer A. Tessema
  • Kathryn M. Ross
  • Lisa M. Schwartz
Concise Research Reports


Financial relationships between physicians and prescription drug or medical device manufacturers remain controversial. Recent large national studies have shown such relationships are associated with prescription of brand-name drugs, especially those sold by the sponsoring manufacturer, over equally effective lower-cost generics.1, 2

Since 2013, industry payments and gifts are being publicly reported. Also, some large academic medical centers, physician employers, such as Kaiser Permanente, and states have banned or restricted detailing visits, physician payments, or gifts, and some manufacturers have changed their own practices for certain gifts.3 We conducted a national survey of internal medicine physicians to assess how their financial relationships with industry have changed in this context.


We randomly sampled 500 clinically active internists and 1000 internal medicine specialists (500 endocrinologists, 500 cardiologists) from the American Board of Internal...



The authors would like to thank Doris Peter, Ph.D., Yale School of Medicine, for her help in implementing the study.


Work at PORTAL on this project was funded by the Laura and John Arnold Foundation. Dr. Kesselheim also receives support from the Harvard Program in Therapeutic Science and the Engelberg Foundation. Survey honoraria and administrative costs were provided by Consumer Union.

Compliance with Ethical Standards:

The Dartmouth College IRB approved the project.

Conflict of Interest

Drs. Schwartz and Woloshin were co-founders of Informulary, Inc., a company that provides data about the benefits, harms, and uncertainties of prescription drugs, which ceased operations in December 2016. Dr. Kesselheim reports serving as an expert witness for the plaintiffs in the Multidistrict Opiate Litigation on the subject of pharmaceutical marketing. All other authors declare that they do not have a conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Society of General Internal Medicine 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Aaron S. Kesselheim
    • 1
    Email author
  • Steven Woloshin
    • 2
  • Zhigang Lu
    • 1
  • Frazer A. Tessema
    • 1
  • Kathryn M. Ross
    • 3
  • Lisa M. Schwartz
    • 2
  1. 1.Program On Regulation, Therapeutics, And Law (PORTAL), Division of Pharmacoepidemiology and Pharmacoeconomics, Department of MedicineBrigham and Women’s Hospital/Harvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA
  2. 2.Center for Medicine and the MediaDartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical PracticeLebanonUSA
  3. 3.American Board of Internal Medicine in PhiladelphiaPhiladelphiaUSA

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