Trends and Characteristics of Industry Payments for Ophthalmology Research from 2014 to 2020

Praneeth Kalva, Akash Kakkilaya, Priya Mekala, Irina Kim Cavdar, Monica Patel, Karanjit S. Kooner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Importance: Characterizing industry-ophthalmology collaborations in research can highlight current areas of focus, improve transparency, and identify potential sources for conflicts of interest. Objective: To assess the trends and characteristics in research payments reported from industry to ophthalmologists from 2014 to 2020. Design, Setting, and Participants: This cross-sectional study used data from the Centers of Medicare & Medicaid Services' Open Payments database (OPD), which contains public records of payments between industry and physicians, to identify all ophthalmologists who received industry payments for research purposes between 2014 and 2020. Industry funding was compared with public research funding by the National Eye Institute. Main Outcomes and Measures: The value and distribution of payments, sponsoring manufacturers, and research products were assessed. Changes in aggregate and per individual-level funding were characterized using formal trend analysis. Results: From 2014 to 2020, 2102 ophthalmologists were reported to have received $825417233 in industry research payments. Industry funding increased 203% from $62924525 in 2014 to $190714508 in 2020 (P =.01). Comparatively, total National Eye Institute research funding during the same period was $5003407764 and increased 6.6% from $701 313 262 in 2014 to $747 929 556 in 2020 (P =.04). The share of all medical research funding from industry directed specifically toward ophthalmology research increased from 1.2% in 2014 to 3.2% in 2020 (P =.04). The distribution of industry payments was skewed, with the top 15 of 108 manufacturers accounting for 93.9% of funding. The top 10% of ophthalmologists (210) were reported to have received 65.7% of all research dollars ($542 299 121). The highest funded research products were anti-vascular endothelial growth factor agents, glaucoma treatments, and intraocular lenses. Conclusions and Relevance: Although unequal in distribution, industry-funded research in ophthalmology is extensive and increasing in scope. Industry funding for research is less than that of public funding; however, industry funding increased faster between 2014 and 2020. Results of this study highlight the increasing importance of industry funding in ophthalmology research, but it may also present ethical challenges for clinicians collaborating with industry..

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJAMA Ophthalmology
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology

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