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Annals of Surgical Oncology

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Changing Trends in Industry Funding for Surgical Oncologists

Juan A. Santamaria-Barria MD, Stacey Stern MS, Adam Khader MD, Mary Garland-Kledzik MD, Anthony J. Scholer MD, Trevan Fischer MD, FACS, Anton Bilchik MD, PhD, MBA, FACS
Health Services Research and Global Oncology
Volume 26, Issue 8 / August , 2019



With reductions in public funding, alternate research funding is essential to surgical oncologists (SOs). We aimed to examine current trends in industry funding of SOs.


Society of Surgical Oncology surgeons were identified and matched with board certification and years in practice. Departmental and hospital data were evaluated, and industry payments from 2013 to 2017 were matched with the Open Payment Data.


Of the 1670 SOs identified, 922 (55%) had academic positions: 588 (64%) males and 334 (36%) females. Between 2013 and 2017, research payments totaling $46,596,706 were made to 162 SOs (17.5%): $40,774,716 (87%) for research related to drugs and clinical trials, compared with $5,194,199 (11%) for surgical devices (p = 0.018). Funding correlated with academic leadership and years in practice (p = 0.0001 and p = 0.0037). Massachusetts ($9,060,976), Texas ($7,656,228), and New York ($4,210,864) received the most funding, whereas Utah ($1,533,166/SO), Massachusetts ($1,294,425/SO), and Oregon ($1,241,702/SO) received the highest average payments per SO. The majority of funding was from Novartis ($16,045,608), Amgen ($6,810,832), and Merck ($3,758,299), for an oncolytic vaccine (talimogene laherparepvec, $5,939,007), a BRAF inhibitor (dabrafenib, $5,727,309), and a KIT inhibitor (imatinib, $4,323,586). Male SOs received funding more frequently than females (120/588 [20%] vs. 42/334 [12.6%]; p = 0.0027). Males also received more general payments (travel/lodging, food/beverage, consulting/speaker fees): $48,830 vs. $11,867 per male and female, respectively (p = 0.0001).


The majority of industry research payments to SOs are related to novel pharmaceuticals, which highlights the expanding influence SOs play in systemic therapies. Industry payments are influenced by location, gender, and academic leadership.

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