[Skip to Content]
Access to paid content on this site is currently suspended due to excessive activity being detected from your IP address 34.204.193.85. Please contact the publisher to request reinstatement.
[Skip to Content Landing]
Original Investigation
Health Care Reform
March 28, 2011

Conflicts of Interest in Cardiovascular Clinical Practice Guidelines

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: School of Medicine (Dr Mendelson), Center for Bioethics (Drs Mendelson, Caplan, and Kirkpatrick), and Cardiovascular Medicine Division, Department of Medicine (Dr Kirkpatrick), University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia; Division of Rheumatology, Department of Medicine, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia (Dr Meltzer); and Mongan Institute for Health Policy, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston (Dr Campbell).

Arch Intern Med. 2011;171(6):577-584. doi:10.1001/archinternmed.2011.96
Abstract

Background  Clinical practice guidelines (CPGs) serve as standards of care in practice, quality improvement, and reimbursement. The extent of conflicts of interest (COIs) in cardiology guideline production has not been well studied. Herein, we describe the scope of COIs in CPGs.

Methods  We examined the 17 most recent American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association guidelines through 2008. Using disclosure lists, we cataloged COIs for each participant as receiving a research grant, being on a speaker's bureau and/or receiving honoraria, owning stock, or being a consultant or member of an advisory board. We also cataloged the companies and institutions reported in each disclosure. “Episode” describes 1 instance of participation in 1 guideline by 1 person. “Individual” describes 1 person who may be involved in multiple episodes. “Company” describes a commercial or industry affiliation reported by an individual in a single episode. Analysis involved descriptive statistics and correlation analyses (Pearson correlation coefficient, χ2 and R2).

Results  Fifty-six percent of the 498 individuals reported a COI, corresponding to 56% of the 651 episodes. Being a consultant or member of an advisory board was the most common type. The percentage of episodes involving a COI varied between guidelines (range, 13%-87%). The number of episodes per individual was associated with both presence and number of disclosures (P < .001 for both comparisons). Of 478 companies, the number per guideline ranged from 2 to 242 companies (mean, 38 companies). One company was the most frequently reported company in 7 of 17 guidelines.

Conclusion  Conflicts of interest are prevalent in cardiology guidelines, but there seems to be a significant number of experienced experts without COIs.

×