Intensive Care Medicine
Annane D, Lerolle N, Meuris S, Sibilla J, Olsen KM.
We set out to summarize the current challenges in academic conflict of interest.
This is a narrative review by a multidisciplinary, multinational panel of academic officers including deans of medical/pharmacy schools.
RESULTS AND CONCLUSIONS:
Disclosing conflict of interest has become the appropriate professional behavior since the 1990s in response to the necessity to fix moral and financial fences around medical activities. The nature of the conflict of interest is academic when either the conflict relates to academic duties and/or the nature of the interest is academic. People usually distinguish between real conflict of interest, when private interest overtly influences one's professional obligations; potential conflict of interest, when there is no obvious direct link between a person interests and current duties without ruling out that expected changes in duties cause a situation of conflict; and apparent conflict of interest, when the risk does not really exist, but serious doubts remain. Areas at risk of academic conflict of interest include peer review process for grant evaluation or journals, scientific communications such as elaborating and disseminating clinical guidelines, lecturing at meeting, advising decision-makers, teaching activities, and mentoring. The management of academic conflict of interest should consider actions in four domains, i.e., education, prevention, measures for enforcement and solving, and communication. Academic conflicts of interest are as frequent as financial conflicts but more difficult to identify and assess, and much less addressed in the literature. Generating more evidence from high-quality research is mandated to improve the management of academic and more generally non-financial conflicts of interest.