Financial Conflicts of Interest Among Authors of Urology Clinical Practice Guidelines

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

9 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: Recent studies have highlighted the presence of disclosed and undisclosed financial conflicts of interest among authors of clinical practice guidelines. Objective: We sought to determine to what extent urology guideline authors receive and report industry payments in accordance with the Physician Payment Sunshine Act. Design, setting, and participants: We selected the 13 urology guidelines that were published by the American Urological Association (AUA) after disclosure was mandated by the Physician Payment Sunshine Act. Payments received by guideline authors were searched independently by two investigators using the Open Payments database. Outcome measures and statistical analysis: Our primary outcome measure was the number of authors receiving payments from industry, stratified by amount thresholds. Our secondary outcome measure was the number of authors with accurate conflict of interest disclosure statements. Results and limitations: We identified a total of 54 author disclosures. Thirty-two authors (59.3%) received at least one payment from industry. Twenty (37.0%) received >$10 000 and six (11.1%) received >$50 000. Median total payments were $578 (interquartile range $0–19 228). Twenty (37.0%) disclosure statements were inaccurate. Via Dollars for Docs, we identified $74 195.13 paid for drugs and devices directly related to guideline recommendations. We were limited in our ability to determine when authors began working on guideline panels, as this information was not provided, and by the lack of specificity in Dollars for Docs. Conclusions: Many of the AUA guideline authors received payments from industry, some in excess of $50 000. A significant portion of disclosure statements were inaccurate, indicating a need for more stringent enforcement of the AUA disclosure policy. Patient summary: Pharmaceutical company payments to doctors have been shown to influence how doctors treat patients. If these doctors are charged with making clinical recommendations to other doctors, in the form of clinical practice guidelines, the issue of industry payments becomes more severe. We found that many urologists on guideline panels receive money from industry and that a significant portion did not disclose all payments received. Our results show that financial relationships between urologists serving as guideline panel members and the pharmaceutical industry are common. Furthermore, conflict disclosure statements were often inaccurate, namely, among guideline chairs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)348-354
Number of pages7
JournalEuropean Urology
Volume74
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2018

Keywords

  • Affordable Care Act
  • Clinical practice guideline
  • Conflict of interest
  • Financial
  • Urology

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