Shedding Light On Conflicts-of-Interest Disclosures Reported by Plastic Surgeons & Industry: Implications for Full Transparency in Biomedical Research
Joseph Lopez, MD MBA1, Gabriel Siegel, BA2, Georges Samaha, MD3, Taylor Purvis, BA1, Javaneh Jabbari, BA4, Rizwan Ahmed, MD5, Jacqueline Milton, PhD6, Anthony P. Tufaro, DDS MD1, James W. May Jr, MD7, Amir Dorafshar, MBChB1.
1Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, MD, USA, 2Rush Medical College, Chicago, IL, USA, 3University of Nebraska, Omaha, NE, USA, 4Creighton School of Medicine, Omaha, NE, USA, 5Duke University Hospital, Durham, NC, USA, 6Boston University School of Public Health, Boston, MA, USA, 7Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA, USA.
Background:The purpose of this study was to analyze both the accuracy of self-reported COI disclosures in plastic surgery and the accuracy of the publically available Open Physician Payment (OPP) Sunshine Act database.
Methods:We analyzed all scientific articles published in four plastic surgery journals from September 2013 to January 2014. The COI disclosure statement of all these articles was reviewed and the full name and affiliation of all the investigators, regardless of whether or not he/she disclosed a COI, was recorded. All investigators were searched in the OPP database to determine whether a financial transaction was reported by industry during the study period. To further examine the factors associated with disclosure of COI in the plastic surgery literature, a multivariable regression analysis was performed.
Results:A total of 1002 investigators published scientific articles during the study period. Of these, only 90 (9%) investigators disclosed a COI. In contrast, a total of 428 (42.7%) investigators were found to have received payments/gifts from industry according to the OPP database. The overall rate of disclosure was 36.0% (68 out of 189). In the multivariate analysis, investigators that were non-academic, received payments exceeding $500, and published scientific articles related to the sponsoring-biomedical company were more likely to disclose COI (p < 0.0001).
Conclusion:The incidence of industry payments reported in the OPP database greatly exceeded the rate of self-reported COI by plastic surgeons. Our analysis suggests that there exist major discrepancies between self-reported COI as disclosed by investigators and the industry-mandated OPP database.
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