Conflicts of interest in neurosurgical research: Effects of the 2013 Physician Payments Sunshine Act on voluntary disclosure
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A conflict of interest is defined as "a set of conditions in which professional judgment concerning a primary interest tends to be unduly influenced by a secondary interest." Increasingly, there is concern regarding the relationship between surgeons and industry device manufacturers and the conflict of interest this poses. Most medical journals require voluntary disclosure of conflicts of interests by authors submitting their research for publication. There is evidence in other surgical specialties that voluntary disclosure rates are low when compared to industry data about surgeons whom they have a financial relationship. To date, there has been no data specific to the neurosurgical literature regarding disclosure of conflicts of interest. In this study, we will look at voluntary disclosure in major neurosurgery journals (Neurosurgery, Journal of Neurosurgery, British Journal of Neurosurgery among others) and compare that to disclosure from individual device manufacturers. Recent legislation in the US makes it mandatory for device manufacturers to disclose payments of any kind to surgeons greater than $10 dollars making access to company date much easier than it has been in the past.