(Reuters Health)—Some cancer doctors use Twitter to promote drugs manufactured by companies that pay them, but they almost never disclose their conflicts of interest on the social media platform, a new study shows.
“This is a big problem,” says senior author Dr. Vinay Prasad, a professor at Oregon Health and Science University in Portland. “Doctors are directly telling patients about their views on drugs, and financial conflict plays a role. But they’re not telling patients they have a conflict.”
Prasad and his colleagues analyzed the tweets and income of blood cancer specialists who posted regularly on Twitter and received at least $1,000 from drug manufacturers in 2014.
Of the 156 hematologist-oncologists in the study, 81% mentioned at least one drug from a company that gave them money, and 52% of their tweets mentioned the conflicted drugs, according to a study reported in a letter in The Lancet Haematology, online Aug. 29.1