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Adequacy of Conflict of Interest Disclosure at Society Meetings

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Key Points

  • COI slides were presented too fast to be comprehended by 34.0% of presenters.
  • Industry funding was underreported by 16.3% of presenters.

In a study reported in the Journal of Oncology Practice, Ahmed et al found that conflict of interest (COI) disclosure slides shown during presentations at a recent American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) national meeting were shown too briefly to be fully read and often contained underreporting of industry funding.

In the study, videos of presentations and slides from 2014 to 2016 at the ASTRO virtual meeting were examined. The investigators documented whether a COI slide was presented, the duration the slide was visible, and the number of disclosures displayed. Disclosures were cross-referenced for discrepancies with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Open Payments database. To determine whether a COI slide was shown too briefly, a cutoff of > 4 words per second required to read was used as a speed too fast for an average audience to comprehend.

Inadequate Disclosures

Overall, 401 presentations delivered by 364 presenters were analyzed. In total, 34.0% of presenters had COI slides shown too fast for the average audience to read and comprehend. A total of 16.3% of physicians underreported industry funding received. Among the presentations underreporting funding, 32.6% did not contain a COI slide, 39.5% failed to disclose any COI, 27.9% partially disclosed COIs, and 11.6% contained multiple discrepancies. On multivariate analysis, the number of words per second for COI slides was correlated with discrepancies in COI reporting (odds ratio = 1.08, P = .046).

The investigators concluded, “A substantial minority of presentations at ASTRO lack meaningful disclosure, and a surprising number incorrectly reported COIs. Additional guidance may be needed to promote more meaningful and accurate disclosure of COIs at major national meetings in oncology.”

Charles R. Thomas, Jr, MD, of the Department of Radiation Medicine, The Oregon Health and Science University Knight Cancer Institute, is the corresponding author for the Journal of Oncology Practice article.

The content in this post has not been reviewed by the American Society of Clinical Oncology, Inc. (ASCO®) and does not necessarily reflect the ideas and opinions of ASCO®.


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