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Conflict of Interest at Plastic Surgery Conferences: Is It Significant?

Gray, Rachel M.D.; Tanna, Neil M.D., M.B.A.; Kasabian, Armen K. M.D.

Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery: August 2019 - Volume 144 - Issue 2 - p 308e-313e
doi: 10.1097/PRS.0000000000005877
Plastic Surgery Focus: Special Topics
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Discussion
Discussion

Background: 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.

Methods: 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.

Results: 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).

Conclusions: 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.

Hempstead and Great Neck, N.Y.

From the Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell; and the Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Northwell Health.

Received for publication May 6, 2018; accepted February 12, 2019.

Presented at the 97th Annual Meeting and Symposium of the American Association of Plastic Surgeons, in Seattle, Washington, April 7 through 10, 2018.

Disclosure:The authors have no financial interest to declare in relation to the content of this article.

Armen K. Kasabian, M.D., Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Northwell Health, 600 Northern Boulevard, Suite 310, Great Neck, N.Y. 11021, akasabian@northwell.edu

Copyright © 2019 by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons