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Study questions physicians’ ability to report conflict of interest

It is not uncommon for physicians to receive compensation from pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers. In many cases such compensation is legal. However, a misstep can lead to allegations of wrongdoing potentially including the illegal use of kickbacks to support the use of a medical device.

One area that can lead to mistakes in this niche of the medical world involves disclosure of conflicts of interest. A recent publication in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Surgery discusses a study that delves into physicians’ ability to report the presence of a conflict of interest with medical device vendors.

More on the study: When to report a conflict of interest?

This study focused specifically on published works. Disclosure of conflict of interest in published works is important as the conflict can result in favorable outcomes and potentially prejudice the study.

Researchers with the conflict of interest study reviewed data from 100 physicians that received compensation from medical device manufacturers. The doctors used in this analysis received a median payment of $95,993 from medical device manufacturers. These physicians published 412 articles during the year in review. The content of 54.6 percent of these articles would impact the medical device manufacturer. However, the researchers estimate only one-third of the articles included conflict of interest disclosures by the authors.

Ultimately, the publication calls for physicians to implement a policy of full disclosure of potential conflict of interest issues for all publications. This standardized disclosure expectation would eliminate inconsistencies in disclosure and increase the likelihood of full transparency.