July 22, 2009

Head of UCLA spine center relieved

The head of the spine center at UCLA has lost his post because of his failure to report connections to medical-device companies, the university announced.

UCLA told the Wall Street Journal that Dr. Jeffrey Wang failed to disclose consulting payments and stock options he received from five companies whose products he was researching.

The university said the failures were a violation of its policy and it was still considering further sanctions. Wang remained on the medical school faculty.

Wang had been co-executive director of the UCLA Comprehensive Spine Center and reportedly had financial interests in products produced by five companies that included stock options and six-figure royalty and consulting fees.

The Journal said the case indicated that while most medical schools require staff members to report financial relationships with industry, verification of their statements can be difficult.

Wang apparently reported some of his financial dealings, but not all of them. How UCLA discovered the omitted deals was not revealed.