Conflict of interest

Management of evidence and conflict of interest in guidelines on early childhood allergy prevention and child nutrition

Early childhood allergy prevention (ECAP) is part of clinical practice guidelines (CPG) as well as food-based dietary guidelines (FBDG). CPG and FBDG are statements including recommendations intended to optimize health behavior and patient care, which are informed by systematic reviews of existing evidence and an assessment of the benefits and harms of alternative care options. 

Considerable concern has been expressed by physicians, consumer groups, and other stakeholders about the quality of the processes supporting the development of CPGs and FBDGs, including a lack of transparency of development groups’ methodologies (particularly with respect to evidence quality) and unmanaged conflict of interests (COI). Active COI management is not employed regularly, and COI disclosures without management might not prevent guideline developers from biased advice. In addition, the prevalence of undisclosed COI is unknown. 

Study objectives

  1. Assess the quality of guidelines on ECAP and child nutrition (CN) with emphasis on the management of scientific evidence and management of COI. 
  2. Quantify the amount of COI in guideline panel members and explore the association between COI and recommendation statements.
  3. Explore ties between guideline panel members, ECAP and CN researchers, and research funding as a novel strategy to disclose COI.

It is linked to "Living Systematic Review" (allows for a comparative analysis of studies included in guidelines and the living systematic review) and  "Heath Professionals", which will provide insights concerning the perception of COI by HCPs.