Two stories in the New York Times today look at the payments made to physicians by the pharmaceutical and medical device industry, and what provisions in the health care reform bills might do to illuminate those ties.  The Times notes AdvaMed’s support for the Senate bill.

Using Eli Lilly’s court-ordered faculty registry, the Times focuses on an adjunct professor of psychiatry at Stanford University, Dr. Manoj Waikar, who participates in advisory roles and speakers’ bureaus of four major drug companies. At fifty-one speaking events and nearly $75,000, Dr. Waikar was one of Lilly’s top five earners in the first quarter of this year.

Some universities, including Stanford, prohibit such arrangements because of their marketing-based aims (physicians use drug company-proffered slides), but such limits often extend  only to full-time faculty, leaving adjuncts such as Dr. Waikar to serve multiple industry interests.

The WSJ Healthblog goes to a new Health Affairs article for a little perspective on the situation:

“Sometimes it seems like everybody has financial ties to the drug or device industry,” writes the Healthblog’s Jacob Goldstein. “As it turns out, it’s only a little more than half of everybody,” pointing to a new survey in Health Affairs that found 53 percent of life sciences academic research faculty had relationships with industry. The survey found that clinical researchers were significantly more likely to receive industry funding than non-clinical researchers.

So what’s a top school? The survey, conducted in 2007, was mailed to more than 3000 researchers at the 50 U.S. universities that receive the most funding from the National Institutes of Health, a common metric used to measure research status.

–Kate Petersen, PostScript blogger