Science and Engineering Ethics 26 (2):921-930 (2020)

Online medical reference websites are utilized by health care providers to enhance their education and decision making. However, these resources may not adequately reveal pharmaceutical-author interactions and their potential conflicts of interest. This investigation: evaluates the correspondence of two well-utilized CoI databases: the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Open Payments and ProPublica’s Dollars for Docs and quantifies CoIs among authors of a publicly available point of care clinical support website which is used to inform evidence-based medicine decisions. Two data sources were used: the hundred most common drugs and the top fifty causes of death. These topics were entered into a freely available database. The authors were then input into CMSOP and PDD and compensation and number of payments were determined for 2013–2015. The subset of highly compensated authors that also reported “Nothing to disclose” were further examined. There was a high degree of similarity between CMSOP and PDD for compensation and payment number. The amount received was 1.4% higher in CMSOP than in PDD. The articles where the authors had received the greatest compensation were in neurology, oncology, and endocrinology. Two authors reporting “Nothing to disclose” received appreciable and potentially relevant compensation. CMSOP and PDD produced almost identical results. CoIs were common among authors but self-reporting may be an inadequate reporting mechanism. Recommendations are offered for improving the CoI transparency of pharmaceutical-author interactions in point-of-care electronic resources.
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DOI 10.1007/s11948-019-00153-9
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