Other Open Access
Riva, Catherine; Spinosa, Jean-Pierre; Lippman, Abby; Rail, Geneviève; Arya, Neil; Spring, Lyba; Taillefer, Anne; Biron, Pierre; Turcotte, Fernand
Comment transmitted to the Cochrane Gynaecological, Neuro-oncology & Orphan Cancer Group (CGNOCG), senior editor of the HPV vaccines Cochrane review. It shows that relevant conflicts of interest (COIs) affected the review’ authors panel. At least two thirds of the fourteen authors had relevant risk of bias, because of COIs with Merck and GSK, the manufacturers of HPV vaccines. Some of the authors have been supported by Merck and GSK; worked as investigators in company-sponsored clinical trials for the HPV vaccines; stated their positive opinions about vaccines effectiveness and safety in publications; work or have worked for health authorities that recommend this vaccination in the belief that its efficacy and safety are demonstrated and acquired; have otherwise conveyed support for the HPV vaccines and HPV vaccination programs, through continuing medical education activities and/or publications.
Cochrane communicated to us that received our letters and intervened on the most serious cases of conflict of interest, dismissing some of the authors; in December 2013 the authors’ panel was indeed reconstituted. However, two authors, including the lead author, Marc Arbyn with COIs with Merck, Sanofi Pasteur MSD and GSK remained on the panel.
Cochrane did not publish this comment.
Comment on the Cochrane HPV vaccines review protocol; it includes specific suggestions to rectify some methodological flaws. Submitted in August 2014, this comment was published in February 2015, five months after submission. It was removed from the Cochrane platform in May 2018, as the Cochrane HPV vaccines review was published.
CGNOCG and authors’ response to our suggestions on the protocol: “We thank Catherine Riva and colleagues for their helpful suggestions and comments, many of which we plan to address in the full review, since they have commented on the protocol only. In response to their earlier set of comments and on the advice of the Cochrane Funding Arbiter review authors with ties to clinical trials in this area were removed. Although this has reduced our ability to consider extensive unpublished data we have been able to contact investigators of included studies for additional information, where necessary, in accordance with Cochrane guidance. This is not an individual patient data review and to undertake one would be beyond the scope of the original review question and represent an investment of time and resources that we are not in a position to make.”