Industry sponsored symposia

By: Peter Morris | Posted on: 22nd October 2011

There were a number of corporate symposia at the ESOT Congress, which is accepted practice these days at most large meetings. However I did hear a lot of criticism about the biased presentations made at some of these symposia, which I had not heard before! Certainly I went to one sponsored by Astellas which was really a quite clever advertisement for the long acting formulation of tacrolimus, Advagraf. The speakers, all distinguished, did present valid data but in my opinion were very selective in their presentations all directed at eventually building up an argument in favour of the prolonged-release formulation of tacrolimus, Advagraft (it should be noted that Prograf, the immediate-release formulation of tacrolimus is about to come off patent!).

This is not without precedent, but I am becoming increasingly concerned as corporate symposia in the past tended to be much more educational than appears to be the case now. I also feel strongly in this age of transparency that speakers should declare up front how much they are being paid for giving their talk. I think this would help the audience to put their presentations in perspective.. The support of industry is important for our congresses, but I do think we need to carefully look at the impact of big pharma on our practice as there is no question that immunosuppression in transplantation is driven to a very considerable extent by industry, not always based on the soundest evidence. This is a plea for transparency at all levels.

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