Discordance of conflict of interest self-disclosure and the Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services

J Surg Res. 2017 Oct:218:18-22. doi: 10.1016/j.jss.2017.05.037. Epub 2017 May 15.


Background: The Open Payments Database (OPD) discloses financial transactions between manufacturers and physicians. The concordance of OPD versus self-reported conflicts of interest (COI) is unknown.

Materials and methods: Our objectives were to compare (1) industry and self-disclosed COI in clinical literature, (2) payments within each disclosure level, and (3) industry- and self-disclosed COI and payments by specialty. This was an observational study. PubMed was searched for clinical studies accepted for publication from January 2014 to June 2016. Author and OPD-disclosed COIs were compared. Articles and authors were divided into full disclosure, incomplete industry disclosure, incomplete self-disclosure, and no COI. Primary outcome (differences in reported COI per article) was assessed using McNemar's test. Payment differences were compared using Kruskal-Wallis test.

Results: OPD- and self-disclosed COI differed (65.0% discordance rate by article, P < 0.001). Percentages of authors within each disclosure category differed between specialties (P < 0.001). Hematology articles exhibited the highest discordance rate (79.0%) and received the highest median payment for incomplete self-disclosure ($30,812).

Conclusions: Significant discordance exists between self- and OPD-reported COI. Additional research is needed to determine reasons for these differences.

Keywords: Conflict of interest; Open Payments Database.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, U.S.*
  • Conflict of Interest / economics*
  • Conflict of Interest / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Databases, Factual*
  • Disclosure / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Disclosure / statistics & numerical data*
  • Drug Industry / economics
  • Drug Industry / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Financial Support* / ethics
  • Humans
  • Physicians* / economics
  • Physicians* / ethics
  • Physicians* / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Physicians* / statistics & numerical data
  • Self Report / statistics & numerical data*
  • United States