Disclosure Inaccuracies Common in Top Rheumatology Journals

Lucy Hicks

August 03, 2023


Conflicts of interests in rheumatology research — particularly for clinical trials — are often incorrectly reported, according to a new analysis.


  • Researchers reviewed the first 50 clinical research reports, reviews, and editorials published in 2019 by Arthritis & Rheumatology, Arthritis Care & Research, and Seminars in Arthritis & Rheumatism.

  • They cross-checked disclosures from the first, second, and last authors of each paper (150 total) with payment reports from the Open Payments Database (OPD).

  • Payment reports captured consulting fees, honoraria, and speaker/faculty compensation in the 36 months prior to an article's publication.


  • A total of 87% of the 135 authors with potential conflicts of interest (PCOI) inaccurately reported their disclosures.

  • All authors of the included 14 clinical trial publications either did not report or underreported PCOI.

  • The total nondisclosed dollar amount was $5,190,901, and the total underdisclosed amount was $4,135,126.


"Improved community education and firmer expectations would permit readers to better assess any possible impact of PCOI on publications," the authors write.


Mary Guan, MD, of the NYU Grossman School of Medicine in New York City led the research. The study was published online in Arthritis Care & Research on July 31, 2023.


The OPD does not include non–US-based authors and authors without a medical degree, and there are no data on the accuracy of the database. The analysis does not provide insight into why these discrepancies occurred and if they were unintentional errors.


Co-author Michael Pillinger, MD, reports consulting fees from Federation Bio, Fortress Biotech, Horizon, and Sobi. He also reports receiving grants or contracts paid to his institution from Horizon and Hikma. Guan and senior author Aryeh Abeles, MD, report no relevant disclosures.

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