Do Author Conflicts of Interest and Industry Sponsorship Influence Outcomes of Systematic Reviews and Meta-analyses Regarding Glaucoma Interventions? A Cross-sectional Analysis

Audrey Wise, Deepika Mannem, J. Michael Anderson, Michael Weaver, Micah Hartwell, Matt Vassar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Précis: In our sample of systematic reviews focusing on treatments for glaucoma, reviews conducted by authors with a conflict of interest were more likely to reach favorable conclusions compared to reviews without conflicted authors. Purpose: Previous studies have demonstrated that authors’ conflict of interest can influence outcomes of systematic reviews (SRs). Therefore, we aimed to determine whether the presence of one of more conflicts was associated with more favorable results and conclusions in systematic reviews of glaucoma interventions. Materials and Methods: MEDLINE and Embase were searched for systematic reviews of glaucoma treatments published between September 1, 2016 and June 2, 2020. Author conflicts of interest were located using multiple databases (e.g., CMS Open Payments Database, Dollars for Profs, Google Patents, the United States Patent and Trademark Office USPTO) and previously published disclosure statements. Study sponsorship was determined using each review’s funding disclosure statement. Results: Our study included 26 systematic reviews conducted by 108 authors. Of these reviews, nine (35%) were conducted by at least one author with an undisclosed conflict of interest. Of those nine, three (33%) reported results favoring the treatment group, and five (56%) reported conclusions favoring the treatment group. Of the 17 systematic reviews with no conflicted authors, one (6%) reported results favoring the treatment group, and two (12%) reported conclusions favoring the treatment group. Fisher’s exact tests demonstrated that these differences held a statistically significant association between author conflicts and the favorability of the reviews’ conclusions towards the treatment group (P=0.04). Conclusions: We found that systematic reviews conducted by one or more authors with conflicts of interest were more likely than those with no conflicted authors to draw favorable conclusions about the investigated intervention. Funding: This study was funded by the Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences Presidential Mentor-Mentee Research Fellowship Grant. Conflicts of Interest: Vassar reports grant funding from the National Institutes of Health, the U.S. Office of Research Integrity, and Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology, all outside the present work. All other authors have nothing to report. Reprints: Audrey Wise, BS, BA, Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences, 1111 W 17th St., Tulsa, OK 74107, United States (e-mail: audrey.wise@okstate.edu). Received November 8, 2020 Accepted January 9, 2021 Copyright © 2021 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.
Original languageAmerican English
JournalJournal of Glaucoma
VolumeOnline First
StatePublished - 2021

Keywords

  • glaucoma
  • systematic reviews
  • conflict of interest
  • industry sponsorship

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