J Am Dent Assoc. 2021 Sep 2:S0002-8177(21)00308-1. doi: 10.1016/j.adaj.2021.05.014. Online ahead of print.
BACKGROUND: Industry payments made to health care providers can create competing interests. The purpose of this study was to define the overall financial relationships between industry and academic endodontics faculty members, detail any variation in such payment data as related to individual faculty member characteristics and leadership position by institution type, and comment on the potential impacts from conflicts of interest (COIs) created by such relationships.
METHODS: The author identified and characterized academic endodontists from information on their institutional websites. The author obtained reported industry payments from 2013 through 2019 from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Open Payments database. The author also noted the distributions of academic endodontists and industry payments by institution, academic rank, sex, and residency program director position. The author subjected the data to descriptive and nonparametric analyses.
RESULTS: Of the 302 academic endodontists included, 240 (80%) accepted reported industry payments totaling $4,260,316.97. Overall, the median of total industry payments for all 302 faculty members was $217.89 (interquartile range [IQR], $34.06-$3,070.00). Among those accepting payments, the median amount was $382.80 (IQR, $110.40-$6,234.00). The top decile of paid academic endodontists received $3,669,291.47 in industry payments (86% of the total), with a median payment of $24,013 (IQR, $17,043-$91,190). Significant sex-associated industry payment differences were seen among the overall faculty and among those with the residency program director position.
CONCLUSIONS: Most academic endodontists accept industry payments. Significant sex differences exist in overall faculty member academic rank distribution, leadership role, and accepted median industry payment amounts. COI issues have the potential to arise among academic endodontists when such industry payments are accepted.
PRACTICAL IMPLICATIONS: Existing sex disparities in academic endodontics within the United States ideally should be acknowledged. COI issues can arise when academic faculty members accept industry payments. Public knowledge of these conflicts could negatively affect individual faculty members, their institutions, and related areas such as academic publishing. Appropriate faculty member COI disclosure, attestation, annual updates, and transparency are important mitigation measures.