Authors with financial conflicts reporting negative outcomes in major orthopaedic journals
In a new study presented today at the 2012 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS), researchers completed a systematic review of three major orthopaedic journals the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery (American and British editions) and the Journal of Arthroplasty (JOA) for all articles related to metal-on-metal total hip replacement between October 1999 and May 2011. As a conflict of interest can increase the potential for research bias and study outcomes, the AAOS and major orthopaedic journals require all presenters and authors to disclose potential professional conflicts.
Of the 411 metal-on-metal total hip studies, 64 reported data pertaining to survivorship, failure and revision rates and were included in the analysis. Over time, the articles became increasingly negative. This negative trend persisted when analyzing the subgroup of studies written by authors with financial disclosures. Fifty-nine percent (38) of the studies reported a conflict of interest. Papers published by authors with a conflict of interest were equally likely to report negative results compared to authors without conflicts. While these results are encouraging and speak to the integrity of scientific reporting, efforts to ensure data transparency and more robust disclosure programs should continue.