Financial conflicts raise questions over trial results

A bubbling controversy over a clinical trial for a new device to cure back pain is being used to highlight how conflicts arise when researchers stand to gain financially from an experimental product's success. The case in point focuses on Prodisc, an artificial disk that has compared favorably to spinal fusion in clinical trials. Doctors in about half of the trial centers stood to earn money from its success. And now the FDA is investigating the case while the manufacturer--Synthes--is ducking questions from The New York Times. The study results eliminated a large number of people, including some who say they had a poor response to the device.

"The surgeons themselves are guilty of being insufficiently critical of products and techniques they are developing," Dr. Richard A. Deyo, a medical professor at Oregon Health and Science University, told The Times. "More people are interested in getting on the gravy train than on stopping the gravy train."

- check out the article from The New York Times