9 ways to manage conflicts of interest


14 Oct 2015

An international group has published 9 principles for guidelines committee members to follow when declaring and managing conflicts of interests.

The Guidelines International Network Board of Trustees (G-I-N BoT) group acknowledges that COIs cannot be totally avoided when panel members are being chosen for certain guidelines or in certain settings.

“The important issue is the management of COIs in a fair, judicious, transparent manner,” they wrote in the Annals of Internal Medicine. 

The group suggests applying the following 9 principles for disclosing interests and managing COIs.

Principle 1: Guideline developers should make all possible efforts to not include members with direct financial or relevant indirect COIs.

Principle 2: The definition of COI and its management applies to all members of a guideline development group, regardless of the discipline or stakeholders they represent, and this should be determined before a panel is constituted.

Principle 3: A guideline development group should use standardized forms for disclosure of interests.

Principle 4: A guideline development group should disclose interests publicly, including all direct financial and indirect COIs, and these should be easily accessible for users of the guideline.

Principle 5: All members of a guideline development group should declare and update any changes in interests at each meeting of the group and at regular intervals (for example, annually for standing guideline development groups).

Principle 6: Chairs of guideline development groups should have no direct financial or relevant indirect COIs. When direct or indirect COIs of a chair are unavoidable, a co-chair with no COIs who leads the guideline panel should be appointed.

Principle 7: Experts with relevant COIs and specific knowledge or expertise may be permitted to participate in discussion of individual topics, but there should be an appropriate balance of opinion among those sought to provide input.

Principle 8: No member of the guideline development group deciding about the direction or strength of a recommendation should have a direct financial COI.

Principle 9: An oversight committee should be responsible for developing and implementing rules related to COIs.

You can access a full copy of the guidelines here.

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