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Conflict of Interest in Medical Research, Education, and Practice
policies that academic medical centers, professional societies, and other private groups have adopted.
Research on the characteristics and outcomes of conflict of interest policies would be desirable for several reasons. First, research could clarify which relationships are associated with higher or lower risks of undue influence or loss of trust, as well as the magnitudes of such associations. Second, such research may identify which conflict of interest policies and procedures are effective in achieving the desired outcomes and under what circumstances various policies are likely to be more effective. These data could then guide modifications in policies and procedures. Third, research on conflict of interest policies may identify unintended adverse consequences of well-intentioned policies and, in turn, inform corrective policy changes. Unintended negative consequences might include disproportionate administrative burdens and the inhibition of constructive collaborations between academia and industry. Strengthening the evidence base should allow institutions to improve their conflict of interest policies to better protect the integrity of their missions and to maintain the trust of the public.