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American doctors and teaching hospitals got more than $3.5 billion from drug companies and medical device makers in just five months of last year. Payments went not just for medical research, but for promotional speaking, “consulting” and dining out—raising disturbing questions. Do doctors always prescribe what’s best for their patients—or for their own pocket books? Do they even recognize their own conflicts of interest? Doctors themselves are hotly divided. How much do patients really need to know?

Also, an update on the Ebola case, and why has half the world’s wildlife just disappeared?

Banner Image Credit: David Goehring

Producers:
Jenny Hamel
Evan George
Gideon Brower

Ebola Case and American Public Health System 6 MIN, 30 SEC

The first person diagnosed with Ebola in the United States might have had direct or indirect contact with up to 100 people. They’re being “monitored” by public health officials.

Nancy Shute, co-host of NPR’s Shots blog, is following that story and the outbreak of the Enterovirus 68.

Guests:
Nancy Shute, NPR's Shots (@nancyshute)

The Patient's Right to Know - About Their Doctor’s Other Relationships 35 MIN, 2 SEC

The so-called Sunshine Act, which is part of Obamacare, mandates financial disclosure by drug companies and the makers of medical devices. How much have they paid to doctors, dentists, chiropractors, podiatrists, and optometrists; not just for medical research, but for promotional speaking, consulting and dinners out? A new, federal website is now online, and the non-profit investigative journalism organization ProPublica maintains its own records on a website called Dollars for Docs.

Guests:
Charles Ornstein, ProPublica (@charlesornstein)
Thomas Stossel, Brigham and Women's Hospital (@tstossel4)
Eric Campbell, Harvard Medical School
Julie Gottlieb, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

World Wildlife Population in Steep Decline 8 MIN, 32 SEC

In the past 40 years, some populations of birds, fish, reptiles and mammals have been on the increase. That’s the good news. On the other hand, half the world’s wildlife has disappeared during that same period—and it’s not due to climate change. In its tenth survey of creatures around the globe, the World Wildlife Fund reports that 52% have disappeared in the past 40 years.

Jon Hoekstra is the Chief Scientist.

Guests:
Jon Hoekstra, World Wildlife Fund (@jon_hoekstra)

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