Heart device research payments raise questions

Read 'em and weep: Implant Program for Heart Device Was a Sales Spur (from the New York Times, free registration req'd). From the article:

    By January, about 80 cardiologists nationwide completed an evaluation run by the Guidant Corporation of one of its products, an improved electrical component, known as a lead, that connects an implanted cardiac device to the heart.

    In exchange for implanting the lead in three patients and completing five survey forms, each physician received $1,000 from Guidant.

    "The primary purpose of the study was to get feedback on how well the system worked," said Dr. Wayne O. Adkisson, a cardiologist in Portsmouth, Va., who took part.

    The program did generate feedback. But internal Guidant documents and e-mail messages provided to The New York Times suggest that the initiative also had another apparent goal - increasing sales of the company's most sophisticated and expensive heart devices.

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