Conflict of Interest: Are Iranian Breast Cancer Specialists Prone to it?

Document Type: Research Articles

Authors

1 Department of Surgery, Tehran University of Medical Sciences (TUMS), Tehran, Iran.

2 Department of Research, Kaviani Breast Diseases Institute(KBDI), Tehran, Iran.

3 Urology and Nephrology Research Center, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.

4 Department of Internal Medicine, Cancer Institute, Tehran University of Medical Sciences (TUMS), Tehran, Iran.

5 Breast Diseases Research Center, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.

6 Department of Surgical Oncology, University de Montreal, Montreal, Canada.

Abstract

Introduction: Giving gifts is a common way to promote and encourage the use of products of trading companies and increase the patient referrals to diagnostic centers. The present study aimed to assess the practice of physicians of different (sub) specialties/educational levels engaged in breast cancer management in some conflict of interest (COI) situations in their relation with pharmaceutical companies and paraclinical centers. Methods: A self-administered online questionnaire including questions on demographic and professional information as well as the attitude of physicians toward COI by answering the questions in three different practical scenarios was developed. Respondents were asked to answer each question by selecting one of the five options: strongly agree, agree, undecided/neutral, disagree, and strongly disagree in their own practices as well as the same questions asking the same subject for what they think of the other physicians. Descriptive statistical analysis was used to report qualitative and quantitative variables. Result: The response rate was 66.24%. In general, physicians considered their performance better than that of other physicians in the situations asked. More than 90% stated that they would participate in the sponsorship congress for introducing new drugs. One fifth of the physicians stated that they would accept the 30% financial proposition for the referral of every single patient to other clinics. More than half of the physicians stated that they had considered the risks resulted from the COI for referring patients to private radiobiological centers. Conclusion: This study indicated that physicians in the field of breast cancer were at the risk of COI. Even within the medical field, there is not sufficient trust in the proper functioning of doctors in dealing with COI situations.
 

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