National Evaluation of Policies on Individual Financial Conflicts of Interest in Canadian Academic Health Science Centres

Joel Lexchin, Melanie Sekeres, Jennifer Gold, Lorraine E. Ferris, Sunila R. Kalkar, Wei Wu, Marleen Van Laethem, An-Wen Chan, David Moher, M. James Maskalyk, Nathan Taback, Paula A. Rochon
Research Summary: 

Purpose of Study
The purpose of this study was to examine financial conflict of interest policies in Canadian academic health centres.

Research Approach/Method
The authors performed a survey of financial conflict of interest policies at 74 Canadian academic health centres using a survey instrument that addressed 61 items related to FCOI.

Key Overarching Message
Results suggest that financial conflict of interest policies vary widely across centres. Canadian investigators must not only understand financial conflict of interest, but also follow the relevant policies in order to avoid a financial conflict of interest.

Key Findings
Of the 61 survey items, only one was addressed by all 74 centres. Thirteen items were present in fewer than 25% of centres. Fewer than one-quarter of hospitals required researchers to disclose financial conflict of interest to research participants. In addition, the role of research ethics boards in hospitals was marginal. Canadian academic health science centres differ both in their financial conflict of interest policy area, and in their policy coverage. Presently, no single policy in any Canadian center informs researchers about the broad range of individual FCOI issues.