Conflicts of interest uncomfortably common in cardiology

To some extent, conflicts of interest are unavoidable among those who write and review clinical practice guidelines. After all, if you're qualified to review guidelines, odds are you probably work in some capacity for a company in that space. However, according to a report in PharmaLive, conflicts of interest appear to be uncomfortably common among those involved in coming up with cardiology guidelines. This conclusion comes from a review that appears in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

The analysis found that about half of nearly 500 individuals reviewed in the study have a conflict of interest. Counted as a conflict of interest (COI) are those 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. The researchers said their "findings are a particular cause for concern" because many of the newer cardiology guidelines are based on expert opinion rather than clinical trial data. This, presumably, would leave more room for a conflict of interest to manifest itself.

"...CPGs play an increasingly influential role in the practice of medicine," the researchers concluded. "COIs are prevalent but vary widely in recent ACC/AHA guidelines. Individuals with greater involvement in CPGs reported more COIs. Although restricting participation may prevent some qualified individuals from serving in the guidelines production process, we found that a large percentage of individuals with guidelines experience reported no disclosures, suggesting there is a substantial pool of potential guideline writers and reviewers without COIs."

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