To the Editor: We welcome the article by Williams and colleagues on conflicts of interest in clinical guidelines,1 and agree that such conflicts can undermine trust in guidelines, compromise patient care and skew health care spending. One challenge in managing conflicts is the lack of evidence that disclosure minimises their impact. For example, research at the United States Food and Drug Administration found that, despite disclosure, for every committee member with a conflict, there was a 10% greater likelihood of the meeting favouring the drug reviewed.2 Recusal (self-disqualification) is also problematic, especially in Australia where there may be a relatively small pool of experts available. Given these problems, we are concerned that some of the recommendations made by Williams and colleagues lack supporting evidence and fail to adequately address conflicts of interest.
Publication of your online response is subject to the Medical Journal of Australia's editorial discretion. You will be notified by email within five working days should your response be accepted.