Alex Lois, MD, Anne Ehlers, MD, Jennifer Minneman, MD, Jin Sol Oh, MD, Saurabh Khandelwal, MD, Andrew S Wright, MD. University of Washington
Background: It is well established that all potential conflicts of interest (COI) should be disclosed by speakers at scientific meetings, and is required at the SAGES national meeting. Industry payments to US physicians are publicly reported in the Open Payments Database (OPD). A number of studies show high levels of unreported COI in the medical and surgical literature. Papers with undisclosed COI tend to be more favorable to industry. To date there is no research on COI reporting at surgical meetings. Given stringent reporting requirements, we hypothesized that COI disclosure compliance at the SAGES national meeting would be high. A secondary aim is to characterize the amount, source, and variation in industry payments to speakers.
Methods: We analyzed a convenience sample of all talks given on one day of the SAGES 2018 national meeting (4/11/18), as recorded and made available on SAGESTV. We recorded the presence of COI disclosure and disclosed industry relationships. For US physicians we also searched the OPD and recorded all industry payments > $500. We compared the self-disclosed COI for each speaker with OPD records.
Results: Of 136 videos, 117 had a disclosure slide with 2 talks having verbal COI disclosure (88% compliance). Median number of disclosures was 3±2.2 (range 0-12), with 113/124 speakers reporting at least 1 industry relationship (91%). There were 72 companies with disclosed relationships, the most common being Covidien/Medtronic (24 disclosures), Ethicon/J&J (19), Olympus (9), Intuitive (8), and W.L. Gore (7). Of 95 US Physician speakers, 42 had payments >$500 reported to the OPD from 27 companies. Of these, the median # payments was 2±1.4 (range 1-7) with median compensation $13,596±31,837 (range $1,011-$147,408). Companies with the most payments were Covidien/Medtronic (15, total payments $139,298), Intuitive (12, $113,194), Ethicon/J&J (11, $246,773), W.L. Gore (11, $91,327), and Boston Scientific(5, $91,327). Of 292 disclosures, 79 were not found in the OPD (27%). 31 payments reported by industry to the OPD were not disclosed by speakers, median $4087±13,187 (range $506-$53,641).
Conclusions: Overall compliance with disclosure rules is high. Many disclosures do not appear in the OPD, likely reflecting industry relationships that do not fall under OPD reporting requirements. There remains a small number of undisclosed payments, some of which are substantial. The amount of compensation varies greatly, and potential conflict may be influenced by the amount of compensation. Adjustments to disclosure rules to include the relative amount of compensation may be warranted.
Presented at the SAGES 2017 Annual Meeting in Houston, TX.
Abstract ID: 95642
Program Number: S102
Presentation Session: Diversity
Presentation Type: Podium