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Derm Guideline Authors’ Financial Info Questioned

Authors of recent dermatology clinical guidelines received an average of more than $150,000 in industry payments, which were not properly disclosed more than half the time, according to a retrospective review.

The review showed that 40 of 49 authors of three American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) clinical practice guidelines received various types of payments from companies relevant to the guidelines. Total reimbursement for all 49 authors averaged $157,177 for the 3-year period included in the analysis, and the median total was $33,247. Reimbursement included general payments, research funding, and ownership/investment interests.

A total of 22 of 40 authors who accepted industry payments submitted disclosure statements that were inconsistent with the data in the Open Payments provision of the Affordable Care Act. Many of the disclosures also were inconsistent with AAD regulations pertaining to clinical guideline development, Jake X. Checketts, BS, of the Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences in Tulsa, and coauthors reported online in JAMA Dermatology.

“Dermatology clinical practice guideline authors received sizable industry payments and did not completely disclose these payments,” the authors concluded. “The American Academy of Dermatology policies may benefit from strict enforcement or the adoption of new standards.”

The author of an accompanying editorial took issue with some of Checketts and colleagues’ methods and interpretation but acknowledged that financial conflicts of interest (FCOI) likely do matter and suggested that AAD increase transparency and enforcement of FCOI policies and procedures.

“‘We must take nothing for granted,’ President Eisenhower said, in encouraging Americans to guard against the influence of the military-industrial complex. The same goes for our specialty’s interactions with industry,” wrote Kenneth A. Katz, MD, of Kaiser Permanente in San Francisco. “The study by Checketts et al serves as a reminder that physicians and other stakeholders should continue to guard against the potential for ties to industry, including among clinical practice guideline authors, to inappropriately influence the way we take care of our patients.”

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About Dr. J. Kim

Dr Kim developed (and is continuing to develop) dermatology research news as we way from dermatologists to stay on top of the latest advances in the field of dermatology.

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