At ASCO Annual Meeting, a Candid Look at Conflict of Interest

Cynthia J. Gordon, PhD


July 08, 2015

In This Article

Moving Forward

Like other strategies for the management of COIs, the Sunshine Act is a work in progress. Despite the initial shortcomings of the data, the act is moving forward.

"Industry is working closely with CMS to help address these issues," Dr Gaynor said. The data for 2014 are scheduled to be available on June 30, 2015, and some of the deidentified data for 2013 data will be identified and published as well.

"There is a lot of work to do because, rather than just presenting a lot of data, context and understanding the relationships are important," Dr Gaynor said.

Financial COIs aside, all of the panelists agreed that relationships between academia and industry are essential and ultimately serve to advance the interests of both parties, as well as patients.

"Despite the potential harms and risks, I think we can all agree that physicians, industry, and patients have a very important common interest—and that's the development of new therapies," Dr Moy said. "Patients seek effective new therapies; physicians and researchers wish to translate basic discoveries into treatments; and industry wishes to develop new products. And this is absolutely central in oncology research."

Financial backing from industry is increasingly important in the current fiscal environment, where government funding of biomedical research is waning. "With potentially more threats to funding from government, we need to understand this and take measures to avoid conflicts where possible," Dr Gaynor suggested.

Nevertheless, Dr Jagsi noted, that shouldn't stop physicians from seeking out additional, noncommercial forms of financial support. Physicians should be lobbying for public funding of research, she said. 'If we don't speak up, who will?" Dr Jagsi asked.

"So, in conclusion, oncology research and practice really depends on good academic/industry collaborations," Dr Moy said. "But at the same time, we need to be mindful of public perceptions. That means we need to adhere to COI policies. But, importantly, we need to inform the development of them so that they're actually meaningful."

"There are many opportunities for synergy between industry and physicians," Dr Jagsi added. "I think this is a critically important activity. But there are inherent challenges that disclosure alone may be insufficient to mitigate."

Nevertheless, each speaker was careful to acknowledge, per ASCO regulations, his or her own financial COIs before diving in to their presentations.

Dr Gaynor is an employee of Eli Lilly and Company and reports having a leadership position, stock ownership, and travel expenses paid by Eli Lilly and Company.

Dr Moy reports having a consulting or advisory role with MOTUS and Olympus.

Dr Jagsi is an employee of the University of Michigan, and reports receiving honoraria from the International Journal of Radiation Oncology Biology Physics; receiving research funding from AbbVie; and having a consulting or advisory role with eviti.

Dr Ratain reports having stock ownership in AspenBio Pharma and Biscayne Pharmaceuticals; having a consulting or advisory role with AbbVie, Agios, Biscayne Pharmaceuticals, Cantex Pharmaceuticals, Cerulean Pharma, Cyclacel, Daiichi Sankyo, EMD Serono, Genentech, Kinex Pharmaceuticals, Onconova Therapeutics, Sanofi, Shionogi, and XSpray Microparticles AB; receiving research funding from Bristol-Myers Squibb, Dicerna, OncoTherapy Science, and PharmaMar; providing expert testimony for Apotex, Fresenius Kabi, Mylan, and Teva; having a pending patent related to a genomic prescribing system; and receiving royalties related to UGT1A1 genotyping for irinotecan.


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