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The NIH gets tough on conflicts of interest

The National Institutes of Health recently finalized new rules aimed at reducing financial conflicts of interest and industry influence among federally funded researchers.

Starting on August 24, 2012, the new regulations will require the disclosure of many financial conflicts of interest previously hidden from view, including industry-sponsored travel reimbursements, a wider array of consulting agreements, and authorship fees from medical societies and foundations.

As the dust settles on this 144-page regulation, Harry Greenberg, MD, senior associate dean for research at the School of Medicine, discussed the reasons behind these rules and the effect they'll have on universities and academic medical centers in today’s Inside Stanford Medicine.

Most significantly, the new rules will require that universities more carefully review and mitigate researcher financial conflicts that could potentially bias medical research. Greenberg summed up the net effect of the regulations in this way: "Overall, many more researcher-industry interactions will be subject to evaluation of financial conflicts and their effect on the research."

In the spirit of transparency, new financial conflicts of interest must be publicly disclosed on a research institution’s website within 30 days or mailed to requestors within five business days. The Stanford article includes a table summarizing the regulation’s other major changes - and you can read the entire regulation and a new FAQ document on the NIH's conflicts-of-interest website.

Previously: AAMC issues conflict-of-interest guidelines for teaching hospitals, Medical groups beefing up conflict-of-interest policies, Stanford’s medical school expands its policy to limit industry access, Faculty consulting work: now on public view and Let the sun shine
Photo by Andriy Solovyov

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