UCLA Surgeon Didn’t Report Payments

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A top spine surgeon at the University of California, Los Angeles failed to disclose payments from medical companies while he was researching their products’ use in patients, according to records obtained by congressional investigators.

Jeffrey Wang, chief of spine surgery at UCLA, didn’t inform the school of $459,500 he was paid by companies from 2004 through 2007, according to a May 21 letter from Sen. Charles Grassley to the school’s chancellor that was reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.

State university researchers in California are required to disclose any financial ties to nongovernmental entities funding their work. Failure to report a financial interest can result in civil liability, including fines, as well as university discipline.

UCLA and Dr. Wang declined to comment on the senator’s letter.

Mr. Grassley, an Iowa Republican, and other lawmakers have accused a number of schools of doing a poor job of policing conflicts of interest among researchers. They said they are concerned doctors’ research and treatment decisions may be unduly influenced by payments from drug companies and medical-device makers.

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