Evaluation of Industry Relationships Among Authors of Otolaryngology Clinical Practice Guidelines

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Financial relationships between physicians and industry have influence on patient care. Therefore, organizations producing clinical practice guidelines (CPGs) must have policies limiting financial conflicts during guideline development.


To evaluate payments received by physician authors of otolaryngology CPGs, compare disclosure statements for accuracy, and investigate the extent to which the American Academy of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery complied with standards for guideline development from the Institute of Medicine (IOM).

Design, Setting, and Participants

This cross-sectional analysis retrieved CPGs from the American Academy of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery Foundation that were published or revised from January 1, 2013, through December 31, 2015, by 49 authors. Data were retrieved from December 1 through 31, 2016. Industry payments received by authors were extracted using the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Open Payments database. The values and types of these payments were then evaluated and used to determine whether self-reported disclosure statements were accurate and whether guidelines adhered to applicable IOM standards.

Main Outcomes and Measures

The monetary amounts and types of payments received by physicians who author otolaryngology guidelines and the accuracy of disclosure statements.


Of the 49 physicians in this sample, 39 (80%) received an industry payment. Twenty-one authors (43%) accepted more than $1000; 12 (24%), more than $10 000; 7 (14%), more than $50 000; and 2 (4%), more than $100 000. Mean (SD) financial payments amounted to $18 431 ($53 459) per physician. Total reimbursement for all authors was $995 282. Disclosure statements disagreed with the Open Payments database for 3 authors, amounting to approximately $20 000 among them. Of the 3 IOM standards assessed, only 1 was consistently enforced.

Conclusions and Relevance

Some CPG authors failed to fully disclose all financial conflicts of interest, and most guideline development panels and chairpersons had conflicts. In addition, adherence to IOM standards for guideline development was lacking. This study is relevant to CPG panels authoring recommendations, physicians implementing CPGs to guide patient care, and the organizations establishing policies for guideline development.

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