The health care industry funded "8,700 trips by Department of Defense personnel" from 1998 to 2007, at a cost of more than $10 million, the Center for Public Integrity reports.
"In a joint project with Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism, the Center examined 22,000 travel disclosure forms filed by DOD personnel, and found that the medical industry was by far the biggest sponsor of free travel, accounting for about 40 percent of all trips. The sponsors included not only drug and device makers but also health foundations and trade groups often funded by those companies."
The medical industry focused on "DOD employees who prescribe, purchase, or recommend the use of drugs or medical equipment." Medical ethics experts say the arrangements created "relationships that pose serious conflict of interest issues." Top medical sponsors of trips for DOD employees includes Johnson & Johnson, GlaxoSmithKline, Hologic Company, Medtronic Inc, and Smith & Nephew (Pell and Mehta, 6/9).