The Physician Payment Sunshine Act requires biomedical companies to disclose financial relationships between themselves and physicians. The authors compared the amount of money received by speakers at the American Society of Plastic Surgeons and the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery annual conferences with that received by the average plastic surgeon.
General payments data were gathered from the Open Payments database for physicians listed as a presenter, moderator, panelist, lecturer, or instructor at the 2017 annual American Society of Plastic Surgeons and American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery conferences. Means and medians of payments to speakers were calculated for each conference. One-tail t tests were used to evaluate differences.
The mean and median for general payments made to conference speakers at American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (n = 75) and American Society of Plastic Surgeons (n = 249) meeting were $75,577 and $861 and $27,562 and $1021, respectively. In comparison with the average general payment received by plastic surgeons (mean, $4788; median, $3209), these differences were significant (American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, p = 0.015; American Society of Plastic Surgeons, p = 0.0004).
The significant difference in payments to speakers at conferences compared with the average plastic surgeon suggests that biomedical companies may have influence over some of the conference content. Speakers must make clear the full extent of industry relationships that could potentially bias their presentations.