Orthopaedic Ethics 12: Relationships with Industry

Collaboration between orthopaedic surgeons and industry is essential for the advancement of orthopaedic technology. Numerous advances in patient care have been accomplished through proper relationships. The primary goal of the profession of orthopaedic surgery is caring for the patient. Relationships with industry must be conducted in an ethical manner and not distract from our primary goal.

Orthopaedic surgeons may receive gifts from pharmaceutical, biomaterial or device manufacturers during the course of clinical practice. The relationships with industry across all fields of medicine have recently changed with the institution of the PhRMA and AdvaMed Codes of Ethics.1, 2

Gifts to physicians may be unethical if they divert the actions of physicians away from what is best for the patient. First and foremost, orthopaedic surgeons should do what is in the best interest of their patients.3,4,5 The intent of gifts from industry is to change the behavior of physicians in favor of increased use of certain products. The acceptance of gifts from industry has been shown to change the prescribing behavior of physicians.6,7

Module content created by Kenneth C. Thomas, MD of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.
Learning objectives for this Activity:

Become aware of the AAOS Standards of Professionalism on Orthopaedic Surgeon-Industry Relationships

Identify physician-industry conflicts of interest

Become familiar with potential legal and ethical issues involving physician-industry relationships

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