The Rotterdam hospital Erasmus MC has reprimanded a cardiologist because he earned extra money in the medical device industry without permission. The cardiologist leaves the hospital “in good consultation”.
Erasmus MC called in an external accountant after the research editors of the NOS and Nieuwsuur revealed the cardiologist’s extra earnings. He received almost 70,000 euros from Biotronik on his company’s account for consultancy work, among other things. This German company produces medical devices and also supplies equipment to Erasmus MC.
To prevent conflicts of interest and bribery, there are strict rules that stipulate that doctors must request permission for additional activities. The doctor in question did not do that, the hospital reports. Because the doctor was paid through his own company, those payments were not easy to find for the outside world in the Healthcare Transparency Register.
According to the hospital, no evidence of a conflict of interest has emerged in the investigation.
Together with other cardiologists from Erasmus MC, the doctor was also a director of a cooperative, which in turn was a shareholder in several companies that conduct paid research for the medical device industry. These include Cardialysis, a company that supervises human clinical studies.
The management of the hospital now concludes that the business activities of these doctors may lead to a financial conflict of interest. The employees have therefore been asked to sever ties with that company “within a reasonable period of time”.
The Inspectorate previously concluded that hospitals do not sufficiently monitor payments to their doctors. Further research on this is still ongoing.
Last month, Minister Ernst Kuipers of Public Health wrote to the House of Representatives that he still finds the additional earnings of doctors insufficiently transparent. He wants to make it a legal requirement to include additional income in the Healthcare Transparency Register.
Kuipers was also chairman of the board of directors of Erasmus MC when the cardiologist performed work for Biotronik without permission.
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