On Free Lunches and Free Choices

If free drug company pens and meals can influence doctors’ prescribing patterns, what happens when there’s much more at stake — like a financial share in a newly developed drug or medical device? Industry/physician relationships can fuel innovation, but also raise complex conflict-of-interest issues, as oncologist Mikkael Sekeres, MD, MS, found when his mother-in-law sought a hip replacement.

The Ties That Bind

Neckties can be a liability in a medical setting — a magnet for stains, a possible germ vector, and a potential noose in the grasp of a curious toddler. But the knotted bit of silk hanging from a doctor’s collar can be an icebreaker in difficult situations, writes Cleveland Clinic oncologist Mikkael Sekeres, MD. Sometimes, it can even be a lifeline.