A breast cancer patient participates in a clinical trial.
A breast cancer patient participates in a clinical trial. - 
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BOB MOON: Would you participate in a clinical trial if you knew the doctor running it was leaking results to make a profit? It's probably a safe bet most people wouldn't. But that's apparently been happening. Now there's a new rule that could help stop it. Janet Babin reports from the Marketplace Innovations Desk at North Carolina Public Radio.

JANET BABIN: The new policy comes from the American Society of Clinical Oncology. It says that if doctors participating in clinical studies are connected to an investment firm, they have to disclose that up front.

Financial companies pay big money to physicians in-the-know about ongoing clinical trials. That preliminary info on a drug or procedure could influence the buying and selling of stocks, making firms lots of money.

Dr. Kevin Schulman with Duke University says that doctors involved in these trials usually sign confidentiality agreements. But he says some physicians violate them, and it's wrong.

DR. KEVIN SCHULMAN: There's no role for physicians who are participating in clinical research to be working with investment companies. From a public policy perspective, this looks a lot like insider trading.

The new policy applies to anyone who wants to publish in the Clinical Oncology Journal, or give a speech to Society members.

I'm Janet Babin for Marketplace.