Australian Clinican: Experts Not Declaring Conflicts of Interest in Pharmaceutical-Funded Research

Researchers at the University of Sydney Regarding “improved transparency” after the review revealed that nearly half of the 120 drug trials lacked or omitted the Conflict of Interest (COI) declaration.

“Disclosure is essential to maintaining research transparency,” said co-author Assoc. Professor Barbara Mintzes of the University of Sydney.

Conflict of interest Studies refer to situations in which the author’s judgment may or may be impaired for financial or personal reasons.

Funding from pharmaceutical companies often requires disclosure of conflicts because “pharmaceutical industry funding is associated with a bias towards more favorable research results for the products tested.”

She said the importance of full disclosure of funding for the pharmaceutical industry has long been recognized and the authors need to report on it.

Disclosure does not rule out conflicts of interest, such as biased reporting, but Mintz said, “By disclosing it, readers can consider potential impacts on their research.”

The study found COI discrepancies by investigating pharmaceutical companies. Report payments to medical professionals (publicly listed by Medicines Australia) and compared these with the author’s own declaration.

The team investigated 120 randomized controlled trials of medicines published from January to August 2020. It consisted of a total of 323 Australian authors and was found to be missing or inaccurate in 46.7% of trials.

Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) are experiments in which participants are randomly grouped into a test group to test a drug or a control group to receive a placebo.

RCTs are often used to test the safety and efficacy of medical interventions and stimuli by examining the differences in results between test and control groups.

Of the 120 RCTs surveyed, 89 of the 78 researchers from 56 studies had 89 incomplete or missing declarations.

Of the 89 contradictory declarations, 51.7% stated that there was no competition for profits and 43.8% made incomplete statements.

In a few surveys, the company name is omitted, or the COI section is completely omitted in articles that make up 4.5% of the statement.

The median private payments reached $ 8,944 (US $ 6,543) and the highest and lowest private payments ranged from $ 140 to $ 97,600 AUD ($ 102 to $ 71,394 USD).

Companies listed in Medicines Australia must declare payments to individual clinicians for consultants, lectures, advisory boards, and educational events. This has been a requirement since October 2015.

Despite the high proportion of underreported COIs, Mintz said the results of her study “underestimate the true degree of underreporting of conflicts of interest in Australia.”

Currently, the disclosure of COIs for Australian medicines is self-regulating and it is not necessary to report all types of payments. Payment for food and drink is often excluded. In addition, not all companies are members of Australian medicine, only authors who are also health professionals are publicly listed, which may explain why underreported COIs are not detected. ..

The authors said Australia was not the only country witnessing similar problems, but a significant discrepancy was found. Danish When U.S. Physician Study..

The authors conclude that this discrepancy “embosses the need for a more transparent and comprehensive COI report.”

“Our study adds evidence that COI underreporting is likely to be widespread worldwide.”

Marina Chan


Marina Chan is based in Melbourne and focuses on Australian news. Contact her at [email protected]