From the Journals

Guideline authors inconsistently disclose conflicts



In a second research letter, half of the authors of gastroenterology guidelines received payments from industry, wrote Tyler Combs, BS, of Oklahoma State University, Tulsa, and his colleagues. Previous studies have reviewed the financial conflicts of interest in specialties including oncology, dermatology, and otolaryngology, but financial conflicts of interest among authors of gastroenterology guidelines have not been examined, the researchers said.

Mr. Combs and his colleagues identified 15 CPGs published by the American College of Gastroenterology between 2014 and 2016. They identified 83 authors, with an average of 4 authors for each guideline. Overall, 53% of the authors received industry payments, according to based on data from the 2014 to 2016 Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Open Payments database (OPD).

However, OPD information was not always consistent with information published with the guidelines, the researchers noted. They found that 16 (19%) of the 83 authors both disclosed financial conflicts of interests in the CPGs and had received payments according to OPD or had disclosed no financial conflicts of interest and had received no payments according to OPD. In addition, 49 (34%) of 146 cumulative financial conflicts of interest disclosed in the CPGs and 148 relationships identified on OPD were both disclosed as financial conflicts of interest and evidenced by OPD payment records. In this review, the median total payment was $1,000, with an interquartile range from $0 to $39,938.

The study findings were limited by a relatively short 12-month time frame, the researchers noted. However, “our finding that FCOI [financial conflicts of interest] disclosure only corroborates with OPD payment records between 19% and 34% of the time also suggests that guidance from the ACG [American College of Gastroenterology] may be needed to improve FCOI disclosure efforts in future iterations of gastroenterology CPGs,” they said.

The researchers had no financial conflicts to disclose.

SOURCE: Combs T et al. JAMA Intern Med. 2018 Oct 29. doi: 10.1001/jamainternmed.2018.4730. Khan R et al. JAMA Intern Med. 2018 Oct 29. doi: 10.1001/jamainternmed.2018.5106.


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