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An analysis of Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Open Payments Database (OPD) shows a high level of inconsistency for physician self-declared conflicts of interest amongst physicians receiving the highest industry payments. These findings were unrelated to academic rank or productivity and industrial payments.
They analyzed 100 physicians receiving the highest compensation (per CMS OPD) from 10 large surgical and medical device manufacturers. Overall COI was declared by the only 37% of authors from relevant 2016 publications.
These 100 physicians were paid a total of $12,446,969, with a median payment of $95,993. Half were from academic institutions. In 2016, these authors published 412 articles with mean (SD) of 4 (6) publications (range, 0-25). Half (54.6%) were relevant to the general payments received by the authors, but only in 37% (84 of the 225) of relevant publications was the potential COI declared by the authors.
Gaps in reporting conflicts appear to be compounded by authors who perceive no conflicts.