We Are Making no Progress
The article of Schott et al. shows that we have not made any progress for years: Guideline authors do indeed declare their conflicts of interest, but this has no impact on their involvement in developing a guideline (1). In the United States, far more progress has been achieved in tackling this matter. The large professional societies in the US require that lead guideline authors and at least half of those involved have no conflict of interest at all. Furthermore, authors with conflicts of interest have to abstain from voting (2). Meanwhile, divestment is being discussed there, i.e. the severing of financial ties with the industry before an authors is appointed to a guideline group. This development is triggered by the understanding that contractual work for a manufacturer and the evaluation of their products should not be in one hand. In Germany, too, this discussion has gained momentum. Within a few months, more than 1200 doctors signed the “Appeal for Independent Guidelines“, calling on the AWMF and the professional societies to define clear rules for the handling of conflicts of interest (3). We should not delay this for too long as the scientific foundation and credibility of our guidelines are at stake.
Prof. Dr. med. Thomas Lempert
Abteilung für Neurologie
Schlosspark-Klinik, Berlin, Germany
|1.||Schott G, Lieb K, König J, et al.: Declaration and handling of conflicts of interest in guidelines—a study of S1 guidelines from German specialist societies from 2010–13. Dtsch Arztebl Int 2015; 112: 445–51 VOLLTEXT|
|2.||Council of Medical Specialty Societies. Code for interactions with companies. www.cmss.org/codeforinteractions.aspx (last accessed on 20 October 2015).|
|3.||NeurologyFirst: Appell an die medizinischen Fachgesellschaften in Deutschland zum Umgang mit Interessenkonflikten. www.neurologyfirst.de/appell (last accessed on 20 October 2015).|