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Oncology News Central (ONC)Stronger Rules Needed for Oncology Financial Conflicts of Interest, Critics Argue

Strengthening Regulations to Address Financial Conflicts of Interest in Oncology

In an era where financial conflicts of interest (COI) continue to raise concerns about bias in oncology, a recent editorial in JCO Oncology Practice advocates for stronger regulations across guideline panels, professional societies, and medical journals. Authors emphasize the need to move beyond mere disclosures and implement measures to mitigate potential biases.

Key Points:

  • Oncology professionals are urged to consider stricter regulations to counter the influence of financial conflicts of interest (COI) within the field, emphasizing the need for more robust measures beyond disclosure.
  • A study from the Netherlands reveals a correlation between key opinion leaders in oncology and higher industry payments, highlighting potential biases despite disclosure practices.
  • Current disclosure reporting practices are criticized for their ubiquity and lack of effectiveness in addressing COI, with many disclosures presented at medical meetings being incomprehensible due to their rapid display.
  • Recommendations include prohibiting clinical trial investigators from owning stock in the drugs or products under study and urging professional societies to adopt measures similar to those of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, which prohibits leadership from receiving general payments.
  • Authors also suggest compensating panel members for their time and ensuring transparency by making COI information for study abstracts readily accessible on platforms like PubMed.

“Our community has long discussed COI, but we’ve only focused on disclosures so far. It’s time to move beyond disclosures and try to actually address the issue.”
– Bishal Gyawali, MD, PhD, Associate Professor in Medical Oncology and Public Health Sciences at Queen’s University in Kingston, Canada

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