ASCO Analysis Demonstrates Need to Harmonize Disclosure Policies Across Medicine

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An analysis by ASCO shows substantial discordance between disclosures to ASCO and to Open Payments, confirming the need for consistent and simpler financial disclosure systems in medicine.1

The paper examined disclosures from 93 presenters at the 2018 ASCO Annual Meeting and 70 published authors in the Journal of Clinical Oncology from January through March 2018.

Differences in disclosure policies are a factor in low concordance rates. Unlike Open Payments, ASCO requires disclosure of stock ownership; patents; payments from a broader array of health-care companies, not just those with U.S. Food and Drug Administration–approved products; and any relationships or payments made to immediate family members.

Different from ASCO, Open Payments requires disclosure from the companies making the payments and includes the cost of research materials (ie, investigational drugs), and food and beverages provided during educational or other activities unrelated to travel or services.

The study also demonstrated that Open Payments should not be considered a comprehensive database and should not be used as the sole basis for comparison when examining disclosures. It provides further evidence that the system and criteria for disclosure are inconsistent across medicine.

While it’s been well known that disclosure policies vary among institutions, associations, journals, and Open Payments, ASCO’s analysis confirms the pressing need for the medical community to come together to harmonize disclosure policies across medicine. 

ASCO has already taken steps to better facilitate compliance with
ASCO’s policies and reduce the potential for unnecessary discordance. For example, participants in ASCO activities are encouraged to check their ASCO disclosure against other sources, including Open Payments, to identify any publicly reported interactions with companies that may have been inadvertently omitted.

ASCO is working with leaders in the medical community to standardize disclosure requirements across the field to make compliance simpler for authors and decrease the likelihood of unintended errors in disclosure. 

© 2020. American Society of Clinical Oncology. All rights reserved.


1. Garrett-Mayer E, Kaltenbaugh MW, Spence R, et al: Discrepancies in financial self-disclosures and open payments reporting among authors of clinical oncology research studies. J Clin Oncol. December 9, 2019 (early release online).