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Scientific Articles   |    
Conflict of Interest in Orthopaedic ResearchAn Association Between Findings and Funding in Scientific Presentations
Kanu Okike, BA1; Mininder S. Kocher, MD, MPH1; Charles T. Mehlman, DO, MPH2; Mohit Bhandari, MD, MSc3
1 Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Children's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, 300 Longwood Avenue, Boston, MA 02115. E-mail address for K. Okike: kanu_okike@hms.harvard.edu
2 Department of Pediatric Orthopaedic Surgery, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, 3333 Burnet Avenue, Cincinnati, OH 45229
3 Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Hamilton General Hospital, 7 North, Suite 727, Barton Street East, Hamilton, ON L8L 2X2, Canada
View Disclosures and Other Information
Disclosure: The authors did not receive any outside funding or grants in support of their research for or preparation of this work. One or more of the authors or a member of his or her immediate family received, in any one year, payments or other benefits in excess of $10,000 or a commitment or agreement to provide such benefits from commercial entities (DePuy, Smith and Nephew, Stryker, and Zimmer). Also, commercial entities (DePuy, Medtronic, Stryker, and Synthes) paid or directed in any one year, or agreed to pay or direct, benefits in excess of $10,000 to a research fund, foundation, division, center, clinical practice, or other charitable or nonprofit organization with which the authors, or a member of their immediate families, are affiliated or associated.
Investigation performed at the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Children's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts

The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, Incorporated
J Bone Joint Surg Am, 2007 Mar 01;89(3):608-613. doi: 10.2106/JBJS.F.00994
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Abstract

Background: Financial conflict of interest has been associated with an increased likelihood that authors will report positive study outcomes. The purpose of this study was to investigate the association between types of declared conflict of interest and reported study outcomes in orthopaedic research.

Methods: The abstracts of all podium presentations given at the 2001 and 2002 Annual Meetings of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons were analyzed by three orthopaedic surgeons with advanced training in clinical epidemiology. The findings reported in each abstract were graded as positive, negative, neutral, or not applicable. Self-reported conflict of interest was recorded and classified.

Results: Conflicts of interest were reported in 40.8% (212) of 519 abstracts. The interobserver reliability of the grading of the study findings was acceptable (intraclass correlation coefficient, 0.725). Rates of conflict of interest related to royalties, stock options, or consultant or employee status varied significantly by subspecialty field (p < 0.001). The overall rate of positive study findings was 84.0% (436 of the 519 abstracts). Positive findings were more common in studies authored by individuals with a conflict of interest related to royalties (98.4% [sixty of sixty-one] compared with 88.0% [381 of 433] for studies authored by individuals without a conflict of interest related to royalties; relative risk = 1.1 [95% confidence interval = 1.0 to 1.1]; p = 0.02), in studies authored by individuals with a conflict of interest related to stock options (100.0% [twenty-nine of twenty-nine] compared with 84.7% [394 of 465]; relative risk = 1.2 [95% confidence interval = 1.0 to 1.3]; p = 0.04), and in studies authored by individuals with a conflict of interest related to consultant or employee status (97.8% [ninety-one of ninety-three] compared with 89.0% [357 of 401]; relative risk = 1.1 [95% confidence interval = 1.0 to 1.2]; p = 0.01). Positive findings were not more common in studies authored by individuals with a conflict of interest related to research or institutional funding (93.5% [143 of 153] compared with 91.8% [313 of 341]; relative risk = 1.0 [95% confidence interval = 0.95 to 1.5]; p = 0.65). In the multivariate analysis, the factors that remained significant predictors of positive outcomes were royalties (p = 0.002) and consultant or employee status (p = 0.038).

Conclusions: Self-reported conflicts of interest are common in orthopaedic research, particularly in the subspecialty fields of adult reconstruction of the knee, adult reconstruction of the hip, and spine. Presentations authored by individuals with a conflict of interest related to royalties, stock options, or consulting or employee status were significantly more likely to describe positive findings. While there may be distinct benefits associated with industry support of orthopaedic research, safeguards must be established to maintain public trust in the medical research establishment.

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    Accreditation Statement
    These activities have been planned and implemented in accordance with the Essential Areas and policies of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) through the joint sponsorship of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, Inc. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons is accredited by the ACCME to provide continuing medical education for physicians.
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