To determine the impact of industry payments to authors of opinion articles on the Urolift and Rezum devices. We also examined the extent to which authors omitted acknowledgements of financial conflicts-of-interest.
We searched Google Scholar for all articles that cite either of the respective pivotal trials for these devices. 2 blinded urologists coded the articles as favorable or neutral. A separate blinded researcher recorded industry payments from the manufacturers using the Open Payments Program database.
We identified 29 articles written by 27 unique authors from an initial screening list of 235 articles. Of these articles, 15 (52%) were coded as positive and 14 (48%) were coded as neutral. 20 (74%) authors have accepted payments from the manufacturer of the device. Since 2014, these authors have collectively received $270,000 from NeoTract and $314,000 from Boston Scientific. Of the 20 authors with payments, 9 (45%) received more than $10,000 from either manufacturer. Of authors with payments, 65% (13/20) contributed to only positive articles. Authors who received payments had more than 4 times the number of article contributions than did authors without payments (42 vs 10). Authors of at least one favorable article were more likely to have received payments from the device manufacturers than authors of neutral articles (P = .014, Chi-squared test). Most (80%, 16/20) authors with payments did not report a relevant conflict-of-interest within any of their articles.
These data suggest a relationship between payments from a manufacturer and positive published position on that company's device. There may be a critical lack of published editorial pieces by authors without financial conflicts of interest.
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Published online: November 06, 2021
Accepted: October 24, 2021
Received: July 14, 2021
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