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Sunshine Act: shedding light on inaccurate disclosures at a gynecologic annual meeting

      Background

      Physicians and hospital systems often have relationships with biomedical manufacturers to develop new ideas, products, and further education. Because this relationship can influence medical research and practice, reporting disclosures are necessary to reveal any potential bias and inform consumers. The Sunshine Act was created to develop a new reporting system of these financial relationships called the Open Payments database. Currently all disclosures submitted with research to scientific meetings are at the discretion of the physician. We hypothesized that financial relationships between authors and the medical industry are underreported.

      Objectives

      We aimed to describe concordance between physicians’ financial disclosures listed in the abstract book from the 41st annual scientific meeting of the Society of Gynecologic Surgeons to physician payments reported to the Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services Open Payments database for the same year.

      Study Design

      Authors and scientific committee members responsible for the content of the 41st annual scientific meeting of the Society of Gynecologic Surgeons were identified from the published abstract book; each abstract listed disclosures for each author. Abstract disclosures were compared with the transactions recorded on the Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services Open Payments database for concordance. Two authors reviewed each nondisclosed Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services listing to determine the relatedness between the company listed on the Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services and abstract content.

      Results

      Abstracts and disclosures of 335 physicians meeting inclusion criteria were reviewed. A total of 209 of 335 physicians (62%) had transactions reported in the Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services, which totaled $1.99 million. Twenty-four of 335 physicians (7%) listed companies with their abstracts; 5 of those 24 physicians were concordant with the Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services. The total amount of all nondisclosed transactions was $1.3 million. Transactions reported in the Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services associated with a single physician ranged from $11.72 to $405,903.36. Of the 209 physicians with Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services transactions that were not disclosed, the majority (68%) had at least 1 company listed in the Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services that was determined after review to be related to the subject of their abstract.

      Conclusion

      Voluntary disclosure of financial relationships was poor, and the majority of unlisted disclosures in the abstract book were companies related to the scientific content of the abstract. Better transparency is needed by physicians responsible for the content presented at gynecological scientific meetings.

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