Conflicts of interest workshop

On 27 November 2015, the Academy held a workshop on ‘Conflicts of interest’ as part of its wider workstream on ‘Enhancing the use of scientific evidence to judge the potential benefits and harms of medicines’.

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This workshop was held as part of our workstream on ‘Enhancing the use of scientific evidence to judge the potential benefits and harms of medicines’. Please visit our workstream policy project page for more information.

Industry has been at the heart of establishing many breakthroughs in pharmacological therapy, and plays a major role in generating evidence (for example through clinical trials), increasingly partnering with academia to do so. However, the role of industry and the academics that are funded by them is increasingly coming under scrutiny.

The Academy conveyed a workshop on 27 November 2015, chaired by Baroness Onora O'Neill CH CBE HonFRS FBA FMedSci, bringing together 40 experts from across the healthcare landscape to explore these issues further by:

  • Considering what interests impact on the validity (or perception of the validity) of evidence about medicines and decisions about their use.
  • Exploring how these interests might be identified, communicated and managed.
  • Identifying key questions, uncertainties and/or common principles in declaring and managing interests.

During the meeting, participants discussed what constitutes an interest, when this might present a conflict, and how interests can be best managed when: funding research, and generating and analysing data; disseminating findings; and using evidence to inform policy and practice. The broad spectrum of sources of interests was considered, including but not limited to the source of funding.

Read the workstream Chair's reflections on the workshop

A report of the workshop can be downloaded from the right had side of this page. This report does not represent a formal Academy of Medical Sciences position on conflicts of interest, but instead serves to reflect the wide-ranging discussions that took place at the workshop. The report fed into the ‘Enhancing the use of scientific evidence to judge the potential benefits and harms of medicines’ Oversight Group's deliberations.

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