Wright MR, Frye L, Vo Solis L, Checketts JX, Guevara C, Smith L, Vassar M. Evaluating Financial Conflicts of Interest Among Contributors to Clinical Practice Guidelines of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. J Am Osteopath Assoc 2020;120(7):462–470. doi: https://doi.org/10.7556/jaoa.2020.059.
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Patient care is an essential part of the practice of obstetrics and gynecology, and patient care is directed by clinical practice guidelines. To increase the validity of these guidelines, we must make sure that there is no outside influence by financial conflicts of interest.
To investigate the existence of and reporting patterns regarding payments received by contributors to guidelines from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), ACOG executive committee members, and companies making these payments and to examine the compliance of those receiving payments to ACOG's conflict of interest policies.
The Center for Medicare and Medicaid's Open Payments database was used to search practice bulletin committee members and practice bulletin collaborators from 2014-2016, as well as current executive committee board members. Open Payments was also used to evaluate companies that provided payments, and amounts were totaled. The main outcome measure was the monetary values of payments received and the compliance with disclosure statements enforced by ACOG. Manufacturer payments to physicians in the database were analyzed descriptively.
General and research payments were calculated among 65 physicians in the Open Payments database: 44 physician members of both the obstetrics and the gynecology practice bulletin committees, 4 2016 ACOG executive board physician members, and 17 contributing physician authors. Research payments accounted for greater than 78% of all payments. Consulting, travel and lodging, and speaking fees totaled greater than $90,000 and contributed to more than 90% of the total amount of general payments. Food and beverage payments contributed to 10% of all general payments. Three covered members were noncompliant with the financial conflicts of interest guidelines, receiving industry payments exceeding $5000.
A small number of companies provide the majority of contributions; however, there is no evidence to suggest bias toward manufactures within ACOG practice bulletins. Future investigations into pharmaceutical manufacturer payments, specifically for consulting fees, may be warranted. (Clinical Trial Registry UMIN-CTR, UMIN000029165)
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