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Two U.S. Senators want to probe the relationship between the medical device industry and the Cardiovascular Research Foundation. The inquiry seeks to determine the financial ties between some medical professors and researchers and companies whose medical devices were featured at the Transcatheter Cardiovascular Therapeutics meeting, which is run by the Cardiovascular Research Foundation. The organization says that it welcomes the inquiry and will fully comply with the senators’ requests. CRF describes itself as an independent, non-profit organization whose purpose is to research cardiovascular medicine and improve the lives of people with heart disease. The senators who started this inquiry into CRF are Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) and Herb Kohl (D-Wis). Recently, senators Grassley and Kohl also introduced legislation that would require public disclosure of drug and device companies payments to physicians in excess of $500 a year. That legislation is called the Physician Payment Sunshine Act. Such legislation and the senators’ inquiry should help to determine whether the physicians who attend conferences like the Transcatheter Cardiovascular Therpeutics meeting are hearing unbiased information about the devices that are featured at such meetings. If the devices are being featured or promoted because of a financial relationship between a manufacturer and researcher or conference organizer, attendees should be aware of that. There is a difference between a paid advertisement and unbiased research.

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