Recently, the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) reviewed its Policy for Relationships with Companies (2013) and removed proposed restrictions, deciding instead that disclosure rather than restriction was more conducive to the dissemination and rigorous peer review of new research.
Proposals in the 2013 policy meant that original research would not be eligible for inclusion in ASCO meeting programmes or journals if the first, last or corresponding author had, during the previous two years, been a paid speaker, an employee or an investor in the company that sponsored the work. At the time, researchers were worried that this policy of restriction could prevent important research from being disseminated in a forum where it could be discussed by the biomedical community, and so unintentionally hinder scientific advancement. These concerns prompted ASCO to suspend the policy while it conducted further research into the potential impacts.
Analysis of data collected over a 2-year period revealed that <2% of manuscripts but approximately 11% of meeting abstracts would have been ineligible. ASCO decided to remove the restrictions and issued a new policy, highlighting that the “policy calls for disclosure and management of financial relationships with Companies and does not create a presumption of impropriety in the existence of these relationships” and outlining how relationships should be disclosed. ASCO also state that “continued disclosure of commercial relationships, rigorous peer review, and management of potential COIs for all work submitted to ASCO best support our goals of trust and transparency and providing value to our members as a source for scientifically sound and unbiased original research”.