Consistency of financial interest disclosures in the biomedical literature: the case of coronary stents.

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BACKGROUND: Disclosure of authors' financial interests has been proposed as a strategy for protecting the integrity of the biomedical literature. We examined whether authors' financial interests were disclosed consistently in articles on coronary stents published in 2006. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: We searched PubMed for English-language articles published in 2006 that provided evidence or guidance regarding the use of coronary artery stents. We recorded article characteristics, including information about authors' financial disclosures. The main outcome measures were the prevalence, nature, and consistency of financial disclosures. There were 746 articles, 2985 authors, and 135 journals in the database. Eighty-three percent of the articles did not contain disclosure statements for any author (including declarations of no interests). Only 6% of authors had an article with a disclosure statement. In comparisons between articles by the same author, the types of disagreement were as follows: no disclosure statements vs declarations of no interests (64%); specific disclosures vs no disclosure statements (34%); and specific disclosures vs declarations of no interests (2%). Among the 75 authors who disclosed at least 1 relationship with an organization, there were 2 cases (3%) in which the organization was disclosed in every article the author wrote. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: In the rare instances when financial interests were disclosed, they were not disclosed consistently, suggesting that there are problems with transparency in an area of the literature that has important implications for patient care. Our findings suggest that the inconsistencies we observed are due to both the policies of journals and the behavior of some authors.





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Weinfurt, Kevin P, Damon M Seils, Janice P Tzeng, Li Lin, Kevin A Schulman and Robert M Califf (2008). Consistency of financial interest disclosures in the biomedical literature: the case of coronary stents. PLoS One, 3(5). p. e2128. 10.1371/journal.pone.0002128 Retrieved from

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Kevin Phillip Weinfurt

James B. Duke Distinguished Professor of Population Health Sciences

Kevin P. Weinfurt, PhD, is Professor and Vice Chair of Research in the Department of Population Health Sciences at Duke University Medical Center and a faculty member of the Duke Clinical Research Institute. He holds secondary appointment as a Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience, Professor of  Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Professor of Biostatistics and Bioinformatics, and a Faculty Associate of the Trent Center for Bioethics, Humanities & History of Medicine. Dr. Weinfurt also co-directs the Center for Health Measurement at Duke and is co-director of the Clinical Research Training Program (Masters degree offered through the School of Medicine). Dr. Weinfurt worked as a Special Governmental Employee for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for four years, helping to create the Patient-Focused Drug Development guidance series. He is also a member of the Secretary's Advisory Committee for Human Research Protections. 

Dr. Weinfurt conducts research on measuring patient-reported outcomes, medical decision making, and bioethics. In addition to conducting research, Dr. Weinfurt has taught undergraduate courses in introductory psychology, judgment and decision making, and the psychology of medical decision making; and graduate courses in multivariate statistics, patient-reported outcomes, and research ethics.

Areas of Expertise: Bioethics, Health Measurement, Health Services Research, and Health Behavior

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