There has been an increasing focus on the relationship between pediatric prescribers and the biomedical industry. There is a lack of research, however, on the biomedical industry’s relationship with the professional medical associations (PMAs) of pediatric prescribers. We developed a systematic method to assess this relationship by evaluating PMA transparency and compliance with a set of 2009 best practice guidelines (BPGs).
Nine PMAs rated as having the greatest influence on pediatric prescribers were examined. Two researchers independently coded publicly accessible information from the PMAs’ Web sites for transparency and compliance with 36 BPG recommendations. Using the coded data, an industry relationship index (IRI) score was developed to systematize comparisons across PMAs.
The PMAs demonstrated transparency and compliance with less than one-half of the 2009 BPGs (mean ± SD: 30.2 ± 15.6; range: 8–51 on the 66-point IRI scale). Two PMAs clustered in the high IRI (more transparent and compliant) group, 3 in the medium group, and 4 in the low group. There was no significant association of IRI group status and the PMAs’ number of members or age. PMAs were least compliant with recommendations that prohibit or limit financial relationships with industry.
PMAs with influence on pediatric prescribers have achieved only limited transparency and compliance with a set of 2009 BPGs, particularly with respect to financial separation from industry. Use of quantifiable standards of conduct facilitates comparisons between organizations and may enhance public trust in PMAs, preserving their ability to achieve organizational goals.