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Macular Degeneration

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A recent article in the New York Times as well as a recent article in the Wall Street Journal have discussed relationships doctors may have with industry and how those relationships may affect the doctor-patient relationship and doctor-patient decision making. Industry includes pharmaceutical companies, vitamin companies, device companies, imaging centers, surgery centers, etc. This issue is also being increasingly discussed within the leadership circles of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, according to a recent article in Ophthalmology Times. The overarching issue of the commercialization of medicine is succinctly discussed in a recent article in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

I wanted to make clear: I, Sam Dahr, M.D., have no financial relationship with any medical-related companies whatsoever. For example, I do not have any relationship with the manufacturers of the vitamins we recommend for patients with macular degeneration. Those recommendations are based on the AREDS clinical trial alone.

My patient recommendations are based solely on my belief as to what is best for an individual patient, based on my clinical training, analysis of available data, and clinical experience.

I have a single activity outside my practice. I serve as a consultant to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The reimbursement from the federal government for this activity is fairly small. Rather, I consider this activity an educational experience for myself that benefits my patients. I also consider my relationship with the FDA a form of public service.