Two leading academic associations issued a joint report in late February calling on medical schools and research universities to implement comprehensive financial conflict-of-interest policies by 2010. The reportwritten by a joint committee formed by the Association of American Medical Colleges, or AAMC, and the Association of American Universities, or AAUoffers a detailed roadmap for academic institutions to identify, evaluate and manage financial conflicts of interest in research involving human subjects, according to a news release.
The guidelines are intended to accelerate medical schools, teaching hospitals and research universities implementation of policies governing consulting relationships between employees and the pharmaceutical and medical-device industries. Financial or personal gain must not be allowed to compromise patient safety or the validity of human subjects in research, AAU President Robert Berdahl said in a news release. The report, titled Protecting Patients, Preserving Integrity, Advancing Health: Accelerating the Implementation of COI Policies in Human Subjects Research, sets a two-year timetable for universal implementation of financial conflict-of-interest policies by medical schools, research universities and their affiliated hospitals.
It also calls on each medical institution to develop conduct policies that cover the institution at large as well as individual faculty members, deans, department chairs, division chiefs and administration officials. The report includes a template for medical institutions to use in disclosing, evaluating and managing healthcare-industry consulting relationships that could potentially cause conflicts of interest, according to the news release.