Reporting of conflicts of interest in oral presentations at medical conferences: a delegate-based prospective observational study

Andrew Grey, Alison Avenell, Nicola Dalbeth, Fiona Stewart, Mark J Bolland

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OBJECTIVE: To assess the prevalence, location, presentation and consistency of conflict of interest statements in oral presentations at medical conferences DESIGN: Prospective, delegate-based observational study SAMPLE: 201 oral presentations at 5 medical conferences in 2016 MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Presence of a conflict of interest statement, its location within the presentation and its duration of display. Concordance between conflict of interest disclosures in oral presentations and written abstracts or meeting speaker information RESULTS: Conflict of interest statements were present in 143/201 (71%) presentations (range for conferences 26%-100%). 118 of the 141 evaluable statements (84%) were reported on a specific slide. Slides containing conflict of interest statements were displayed for a median (IQR) 2 s (1-5), range for conferences 1.25-7.5 s. Duration of display was shorter when the slide contained only the conflict of interest statement, 2 s (1-3.5), than when it contained other information, 8 s (3-17), but was not affected by type of presentation or whether a conflict of interest was disclosed. When a conflict of interest was disclosed, 27/84 (32%) presenters discussed an aspect of it. Discordance between the presence of a conflict of interest disclosure in the oral presentation and written formats occurred for 22% of presentations.

CONCLUSION: In oral presentations at the medical conferences we assessed, conflict of interest statements were often missing, displayed too briefly to be read and understood, or not discussed/explained by the presenter. They were sometimes discordant with statements in the corresponding written formats. Conference delegates' ability to assess the objectivity and quality of the information in oral presentations may therefore have been diminished.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere017019
JournalBMJ Open
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2017



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