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Coming clean about cancer drugs down under

Some Australian oncologists are asking physicians who give rosy presentations on some pricey cancer drugs to come clean about their connections to pharma, according to The Age. Here's a snip:

    Dr Haines said that when he started oncology in the 1980s, doctors had meetings to discuss research over a cup of tea. Now the get-togethers were "lavish" dinners paid for by drug companies.

    At a meeting a few years ago, he queried a drug's effectiveness. He was told that perhaps he should pay for his own dinner.

    "It was said with a smile, but it is 'shut up and don't rock the boat'. It's hard to get a decent opinion any more at these meetings, because no one wants to be left off the gravy train.

    "(Other doctors) share my views and they say, 'I agree, but I can't afford (to speak) at this stage of my career."'

    The doctors said they had accepted trips to major conferences and entered patients in drug company trials, but they were not paid as consultants to any pharmaceutical company.

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