Most study authors at the 2019 Society of Gynecologic Oncology (SGO) Annual Meeting failed to disclose industry relationships, found a cross-sectional study published in Gynecologic Oncology.
The study compared meeting disclosures for 301 authors from 58 abstracts at the 2019 SGO Annual Meeting with their industry relationships listed for 2018 on the Open Payments database, which is a registrar of industry-reported payments made to physicians that is managed by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).
Most authors — 184, in fact (61.1%) — had an industry relationship listed in Open Payments for 2018, and the collective payments totaled to $43 million from 122 companies.
Nearly all authors (89.1%) received payment in the form of food and beverage, and approximately half (45.7%) received payment for the research and associated research categories. According to data in the database, the median amount authors received was $6342, and the highest-paid author received nearly $3.5 million.
A total of 161 authors had disclosure statements on their presentations, which included 147 who reported having no disclosures and 14 who reported having an industry relationship.
However, of the 147 authors who clearly reported no disclosures, 88 (59%) had an industry relationship in Open Payments for 2018. A total of 140 authors did not have disclosure information available, and 85 (60.7%) were found to have industry relationship in the database for 2018.
“One explanation for some of the discordance we identified could be a lack of understanding by authors regarding what encompasses a meaningful or relevant payment to their current presentation,” the study authors speculated.
The study authors encouraged the organizers of research meetings to improve disclosure accuracy by clarifying guidelines and performing audits on author disclosures.
“Culture change is often stimulated and instigated by those in charge, so the onus is also placed on physician associations to encourage transparency amongst their members — perhaps by requiring members to perform annual [Open Payments database] reviews,” the study authors wrote.
Disclosure: Some of the authors disclosed financial relationships with the pharmaceutical industry. For a full list of disclosures, please refer to the original study.
Guo XM, Cowan M, Folsom S, et al. Discrepancies between author- and industry-reported disclosures of financial relationships at an annual gynecologic oncology research meeting. Gynecol Oncol. Published online November 10, 2020. doi:10.1016/j.ygyno.2020.10.039