Trends & Frequency of Surgeon-Reported Conflicts-of-Interest in the Plastic Surgery Literature
Joseph Lopez, MD MBA1, Leila Musavi, BS1, Amy Quan, MPH1, Nicholas Calotta, BA1, Ilona Juan, BA1, Angela Park, BS1, Anthony P. Tufaro, DDS MD1, James W. May, Jr., MD2, Amir H. Dorafshar, MBChB1.
1Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, MD, USA, 2Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA, USA.
Purpose The purpose of this study was to identify the trends, frequency, and nature of industry sponsorship of plastic surgery research since the establishment of conflicts of interest (COI) reporting policies.
Methods We analyzed the frequency and types of self-reported COI in three major plastic surgery journals since the adoption of reporting policies in 2007. All original articles that were published in three major plastic surgery journals from 2008 to 2014 were included. The type of self-reported COI was characterized into the following categories: research or institutional support, royalties/stock options, consultant/employee, or miscellaneous funding. A multivariate regression analysis was performed to determine what study-specific variables increase the likelihood of COI being disclosed.
Results A total of 3722 articles met the inclusion criteria and were included in the analysis. The incidence of COI steadily decreased from 24% in 2009 to 9% in 2013. The types of COI also significantly changed from 2008 to 2013 (p < 0.001). In 2008, 71% and 17% of COI were categorized as research support and consultant/employee, respectively. However by 2013, 34% and 57% were categorized as research support and consultant/employee, respectively. A multivariate regression analysis revealed that article subspecialty topic was associated with disclosure COI (p < 0.0001).
Conclusion If self-reporting of COI are assumed to be accurate, the number of surgeon-reported COI in plastic surgery declined overall. Our analysis also suggests that industry has steadily increased the number of consultancies rather than direct research support over this period.
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