Of all the biases threatening research validity, perhaps most pernicious is that introduced by a financial incentive exerting influence on a researcher. In some circumstances, remuneration from a company may support a researcher’s time used to perform a study, but unfortunately, a substantial body of literature consistently documents bias attributed to these financial payments, which are ubiquitous in medicine. In 2015, payments from industry to physicians and teaching hospitals reported under the Physician Payment Sunshine Act amounted to $7.5 billion.1 In response, the research community has established safeguards against the potential influence of these relationships. A cornerstone of these safeguards is the requirement that researchers disclose any financial ties that may pose a conflict of interest (COI), thereby informing a reader’s interpretation of a study’s findings.
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Sacks GD, Hines OJ. Safeguarding Against Conflicts of Interest in the Surgical Literature. JAMA Surg. 2018;153(11):1002–1003. doi:10.1001/jamasurg.2018.2587
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