Conflicts of Interest Cloud Heart Treatment Guidelines:
MONDAY, March 28 (HealthDay News) -- More than half of the
nearly 500 writers and reviewers of recent cardiology clinical
practice guidelines reported a conflict of interest due to ties
with drug makers and other companies, a new study finds.
The findings are troubling because clinical practice guidelines
(CPGS) are often adopted as the standard of care and taught in
medical training programs, according to background information in
Researchers examined the 17 most recent American College of
Cardiology/American Heart Association clinical practice guidelines
issued through 2008. Of the 498 people involved in creating those
guidelines, 277 (56 percent) reported a conflict of interest
The most common types of conflict of interest were: being a
consultant or member of an advisory board, receiving a research
grant, being on a speaker's bureau and/or receiving honoraria, and
Through these types of links, there were 510 commercial
companies involved in the 17 guidelines, compared with only 18
"Our finding that most episodes of guidelines participation involve COIs, and that most individuals involved in producing guidelines report COIs, is a cause for concern. These findings are a particular cause for concern given the fact that many of the newest ACC/AHA guideline recommendations are based more on expert opinion than on clinical trial data," wrote Dr. Todd B. Mendelson, of the University of Pennsylvania, in Philadelphia, and colleagues.
"However, our findings of the average number of companies  and the range of numbers of companies [2(two to 242) reported per guideline are perhaps less salient than the finding that a few companies were most reported in multiple different guidelines, and that one company was most reported in seven of 17 guidelines," they added.
The study appears in the March 28 issue of the
Archives of Internal Medicine.
The findings "raise disturbing questions about the independence
and reliability of CPGs in cardiovascular medicine," Dr. Steven E.
Nissen, of the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, wrote in an
The U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute explains how
prevent and control heart disease risk
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