Discrepancies in Self-Reported and Actual Conflicts of Interest for Robotic Pediatric Urological Surgery.
PURPOSE: Transparency of conflicts of interest is essential when assessing publications that address the benefits of robotic surgery over traditional laparoscopic and open operations. We assessed discrepancies between self-reported and actual conflicts of interest as well as whether conflicts of interest are associated with favorable endorsement of robotic surgery. MATERIALS AND METHODS: We searched the Embase® and MEDLINE® databases for articles on robotic surgery within pediatric urology. We included English language articles published since 2013, when data in the Open Payments program (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Baltimore, Maryland) became available. For all United States based authors Open Payments was used to identify the total amount of financial payment received from Intuitive Surgical®. Chi-square test was used to assess the association between conflicts of interest and favorable endorsement of robotic surgery. RESULTS: A total of 191 articles were initially identified. After exclusion criteria were applied 107 articles remained (267 distinct authors). Of the articles 86 (80.4%) had at least 1 author with a history of payment from Intuitive Surgical, with 79 (91.9%) having at least 1 author who did not declare a conflict of interest despite history of payment. A total of 44 authors (16.5%) had a history of payment from Intuitive Surgical, with an average payment of $3,594.15. Articles with a first and/or last author with a history of payment were more likely to contain a favorable endorsement of robotic surgery compared to articles without a history of payment (85.1% vs 63.6%, p = 0.0124). CONCLUSIONS: Nondisclosure of conflict of interest with Intuitive Surgical is extremely common within pediatric urology. Steps to ensure accurate reporting of conflicts of interest are essential. There appears to be an association between a history of payment and favorable endorsement of robotic surgery.
Jimbo, M; Granberg, CF; Osumah, TS; Bandari, J; Cannon, GM; Routh, JC; Gargollo, PC
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