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Drug companies’ extra payments to researchers raise conflict-of-interest concerns

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Pharmaceutical companies pay for the clinical trials that Dr. Yoav Golan conducts on antibiotics at Tufts Medical Center.

They also pay him tens of thousands of dollars a year to give speeches and advice on behalf of their drugs.

If Golan worked at some teaching hospitals, he would be barred or severely restricted from accepting both research funding and personal payments for promotional speaking or consulting from drug makers. These hospitals fear that the money could influence clinical findings or at least create the appearance of a conflict of interest.

Yet Tufts and many other academic medical centers allow doctors to accept overlapping payments, and some doctors still take them.

A ProPublica analysis shows that more than 1,300 practitioners nationwide received both research money and speaking or consulting fees from the same drug maker in 2012.

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