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Financial Conflicts of Interest in Research: Shared Responsibility, Individual Integrity


Background

There are many benefits to joint and synergistic relationships involving academia and industry. It is only through such relationships that advancements in the life sciences can most rapidly achieve the maximum benefit to society. The rise in academia-industry relationships in biomedical research has been accompanied by increasing concerns about risks due to financial conflicts of interest. These risks include the potential to bias research, delay trainee progress, compromise efficient and wide dissemination of research results, harm human research participants, and decrease public trust.

As representatives and leaders within the biomedical research community, FASEB believes that maintaining the public trust and assuring the integrity of basic and clinical research is of the highest importance. Given our representation of over 100,000 practicing scientists, FASEB is uniquely positioned to proactively address these issues. While other groups have addressed conflict of interest, we are particularly concerned with the perspectives of investigators who work in the public interest in all research-based institutions, particularly academic and not-for-profit institutions where the majority of FASEB society member scientists are represented.

 

Phase I: June 2005-June 2006

In June 2005, FASEB hosted the conference, “Shared responsibility, individual integrity: Scientists addressing conflicts of interest in biomedical research.” The purpose of the conference was to consider and respond to serious challenges involving conflict of interest in biomedical research. Speakers from academia, industry, government, and nonprofit associations outlined the issues and a break-out session allowed more detailed discussion. The conference prepared FASEB for a continuing discussion of these issues, and a steering committee continued to develop several key issues that were raised. The resulting white paper, released on July 14, 2006, represents a consensus statement on overarching principles and voluntary standards for the conduct and management of academia-industry interactions from the scientists’ perspective.

Call to Action Meeting - July 17, 2007 


Phase II: July 1, 2006-Sept. 30, 2007

FASEB developed a set of guiding principles for investigators to address challenges as a result of financial relationships with industry. FASEB is poised to expand this work with the generous support of a grant awarded on July 1, 2006 from the ORI-AAMC RCR Program for Academic Societies to Promote Research Integrity. FASEB will convene a coalition of major stakeholders to manage the next phase. Over the course of one year, this coalition will develop and implement activities to achieve two major goals: 1) raise awareness of conflict-of-interest issues on the part of investigators and 2) call for more standard practices for conflicts of interest disclosure and management in biomedical research.
 

Resources

Conflicts of interest in biomedical research – the FASEB guidelines. Laura M. Brockway and Leo T. Furcht. The FASEB Journal.
December 2006

 

"Shared responsibility, Individual Integrity: Scientists Addressing Conflicts of Interest in Biomedical Research." 
White paper, released July 14, 2006

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