What creates a Conflict of Interest?

Published Date

Steve Singer, PhD, Vice President of Education and Outreach, explains conflict of interest. 


>>SINGER: So what creates a conflict of interest in accredited continuing medical education?

Conflict of interest occurs when a person has the opportunity to affect the content of continuing medical education, and at the same time that person has a financial relationship with an ACCME-defined commercial interest that is related to the content of the continuing medical education.

When someone has a relationship with a commercial interest, they have an incentive to maintain or potentially increase the value of that relationship. For the person with the financial relationship, this creates a challenge, they are guided by their interest with respect to that financial incentive, and at the same time, the interest of learners and the public for the CME activity. So this is a conflict of interest. The presence of this conflict does not preclude the person from participating, and it does not make the content that they create false or misleading, it just creates a boundary issue. It creates a set of facts and circumstances that we need to recognize. A boundary related to the independence of our education, and it's not wrong to find ourselves at this boundary, but our standards require that we know how to manage ourselves at this boundary. ACCME standards are your tool for navigating these boundary issues and we'll explore how in the next series of videos.