What We're Reading: Medical Associations Tied to Industry; COVID-19's Toll on Health Care Personnel; Methadone Delivery Permitted

May 28, 2020

A new study highlights medical associations' financial ties with pharmaceutical and device companies; CDC data finds nearly 300 health care personnel have died of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19); the federal government is permitting methadone deliveries for those with opioid use disorder or addiction.

Study Highlights Medical Associations' Financial Ties

Data Reveal COVID-19 Toll on Health Care Personnel

Federal Government Allows Methadone Deliveries

In a cross-sectional study published in The BMJ, researchers investigated the extent of financial relationships between leaders of influential professional medical associations and different pharmaceutical and medical device companies. Of the 328 leaders in the study, 72% had financial ties to industry, while total payments for leaders between 2017 and 2019 amounted to almost $130 million. Ten professional medical associations were included in the study, including the American College of Cardiology and the American Society of Clinical Oncology. Researchers determined the median amount each leader received was $31,805 (interquartile range $1157 to $254,272). Investigators point out the payments raise questions about associations’ independence and integrity.New CDC data revealed that since the beginning of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, nearly 300 health care personnel have died from the disease and close to 63,000 have been infected. However, of the data collected from 1,358,065 individuals information on health care personnel, status was only available for 21% of the total. In addition, of the nearly 63,000 cases, death status was only available for 57% of individuals infected. In comparison, on April 15, CDC reported only 27 deaths among health care personnel and more than 9000 cases in health care workers, according to NPR.The federal government is now permitting patients in quarantine to have methadone delivered. The medication for opioid addiction has to be taken every day and is normally picked up from a treatment center, NPR reports. According to data from April 2020, 3 million Americans currently live with opioid use disorder. Last month, New York City instituted a methadone delivery program so patients wouldn’t need to break quarantine to receive their next dose. However, only 70 deliveries have been made under the program, despite its capacity to carry out 1300 deliveries each month.