Comparison of orthopedic device maker's disclosure of payments to journal authors' shows disparity

by Ben Vernia | September 16th, 2010

In an article published online in the Archives of Internal Medicine, three researchers compared the payments publicly disclosed by five orthopedic device manufacturers to physicians (a requirement arising from the 2007 settlement between all five companies and the federal government) with disclosures made by those same doctors when they authored scientific articles. According to the report:

Of the 41 individuals who received $1 million or more in 2007, 32 had published articles relating to orthopedics between January 1, 2008, and January 15, 2009. Disclosures of company payments varied considerably. Prominent authorship position and article-payment relatedness were associated with greater disclosure, although nondisclosure rates remained high (46% among first-, sole-, and senior-authored articles and 50% among articles directly or indirectly related to payments). The accuracy of disclosures did not vary with the strength of journals’ disclosure policies.

The researchers urged medical journals and other institutions to consider ways in which they could facilitate transparency.

Disclosure: I represented Depuy Orthopaedics in the 2007 settlement and the implementation of its Corporate Integrity Agreement.

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