Washington, D.C., February 28, 2008—A new report, issued today by the AAMC (Association of American Medical Colleges) and the Association American of Universities (AAU), calls on all medical schools and major research universities to develop and implement institutional financial conflicts of interest (COI) policies within the next two years, and to refine standards for addressing individual financial COI. “Protecting Patients, Preserving Integrity, Advancing Health: Accelerating the Implementation of COI Policies in Human Subjects Research,” provides a detailed roadmap for academic institutions to identify, evaluate, and manage financial conflicts of interest in research that involves human research subjects.
Universities have long recognized the importance of maintaining policies that address conflicts of interest. In 1964, the Council of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) and the American Council on Education (ACE) issued a joint statement On Preventing Conflicts of Interest in Government-Sponsored Research at Universities. This statement, which continues to serve as the basis for many university policies today, underscores the importance of the transfer of knowledge and skill from the university to industry, as well as careful attention to institutional standards and procedures that protect the integrity of the institution and the research conducted there.
The existence of those regulations makes the issuance of this framework timely, but it would be necessary even if no regulations were forthcoming. This document grows out of the conviction that universities, not the sponsors of research, are responsible for the conduct of their faculty and staff. In order to fulfill that responsibility, they must have fair, workable and expeditious procedures for dealing with alleged transgressions of accepted standards.
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