Disclosing Industry Payments for Dermatology Clinical Guidelines Authors
Authors of dermatology clinical practice guidelines (CPGs) may be receiving significant industry payments that are not fully disclosed—suggesting that the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) policies may benefit from stronger enforcement or the development of new standards.
A study recently published by JAMA Dermatology analyzed the payments received by physicians that author dermatology physician guidelines and compared the disclosure statements in order to determine if authors received payments manufactured products from the guidelines. Also, the study investigated how the AAD followed and enforced the Administrative Regulations.
The researchers used the Open Payments database to collect data from 3 AAD guidelines from 2013 to 2016 in order to record the financial payments that were received by 49 authors. They determined disclosure statement accuracy, information on the companies providing payments, and the enforcement of Administrative Regulations through comparing the payments received at the date of the initial search to the date of the publication.
“To increase transparency of financial relationships between physicians and industry, the Sunshine provisions of the Affordable Care Act (hereinafter referred to as Open Payments) make all industry payments more than $10 publically available,” the authors wrote. “Making Open Payments data publically available allows for more careful monitoring of physicians’ ties to industry, especially among physicians participating in developing CPGs. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the monetary amounts and types of payments received by authors of the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) CPGs.”
A total of 49 authors were evaluated and 40 of them had received at least 1 reported industry payment, while 31 accepted more than $1000, 25 accepted more than $10,000, and 18 accepted more than $50,000. The average financial payment of $157,177 per author, while the total reimbursement among all authors from 2013 to 2015 was $7,701,681. Furthermore, of the 40 authors that received payments, 22 of them did not accurately disclose their industry relationships. Violations were found in the results, including authors that had received payments from companies with products that were related to the guideline.
“Dermatology CPG authors received sizable industry payments. There were inaccuracies in disclosure forms when compared with Open Payments data and a lack of enforcement of AAD guideline Administrative Regulations,” the study concluded. “Changes are recommended for panel composition, disclosure policies, and development practices to promote transparency and minimize bias resulting from industry FCOIs.”
The authors overall suggest that the AAD take steps to encourage compliance to the Administrative Regulations and consider creating new policies to decrease the amount of bias by CPG authors.