Over-diagnosis and pharmaceutical links worry patients


MOST doctors are not telling their patients about the risks of over-diagnosis and many patients worry about links between doctors and drug companies on medical panels.

A Bond University survey of 500 Australians found 90% of people were not told by their doctors about the risk of over-diagnosis and 93% wanted information about the harms of screening for cancer as well as benefits.

Senior research fellow Dr Ray Moynihan said over-diagnosis was often the result of healthy people being screened for breast or prostate cancer and "could be harmful due to unnecessary labelling or treatment".

Respondents were also asked whether it was appropriate doctors with financial ties to drug companies could sit on panels defining diseases, expanding the ranks of "people labelled as sick".

Some 78% said they thought such links were inappropriate, 72% said such links were "completely or mostly inappropriate" and 55% said the panels should not include any doctors with financial links to drug firms.

Topics:  diagnosis doctor health

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