Overview of Conflict of Interest Policy with Commercial Entities
expects that health professionals and medical school personnel should act in
ways that are unbiased, and in the best interests of individual patients and
the wider community. Over the last decade, evidence has emerged that commercial
interests, including pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers, have at
times exerted undue influence on physicians and other health professionals.
This has led to the commitment by all Canadian medical schools to develop and
implement a Conflict of Interest (COI) policy.
Northern Ontario School of Medicine (NOSM) has a social accountability mandate
to be responsive to the needs of the people and the communities of Northern
Ontario with a focus on improving health care and health outcomes. The first new medical school in Canada for
NOSM also has a commitment to innovation. The success of distributed,
community-engaged learning, NOSM’s distinctive model of education
and research, depends on close collaboration with hospitals and health
services, physicians and other health professionals, and the communities of
Northern Ontario. In this context, this COI policy has been developed through
an extensive collaborative process, and is anticipated to be consistent with
the COI policies of partner clinical sites.
important to recognize that almost all NOSM clinical faculty members are
stipendiary faculty who are primarily clinical service providers. Very few
clinical faculty members have protected time away from clinical
responsibilities to undertake education, research, or other academic
activities. In this context, there will be a staged implementation of this
policy to allow time for changes to occur in existing practices.
intent of the COI policy is to enhance the professionalism of all NOSM faculty
members, learners (including medical students and residents), and staff members
in undertaking educational, research, clinical and other activities, while at
the same time acknowledging and avoiding perceived, potential, and actual
conflicts of interest. This policy provides a framework, which is designed to
assist individuals and groups within and associated with NOSM to achieve
success while ensuring the highest ethical and academic standards. Every
individual, group, and organization has interests that affect decision-making, behaviours, and interactions
with others. An “interest” is defined as the advantage or
benefit of a person or group, or having a stake or involvement in an
undertaking, especially a financial one (Oxford English Dictionary). There are
many types of interests, including personal, professional, social, and
financial interests, for example, and these interests can combine and
intersect. A conflict of interest exists
in any situation where there is a potential divergence between
an individual’s personal (or combined) interests and his or her
obligations to the School such that an independent observer would reasonably
question whether the individual’s behaviour or decisions are
in any way motivated
by considerations of personal interest, financial, or otherwise. A conflict of
interest may be actual, perceived, or potential.
that are thought to exist (e.g., perceived or potential) may be equally as
damaging to NOSM as real or actual COIs. When a conflict of interest does
occur, others should take care not to infer intent or guilt. Conflicts of
interest may arise based on past practices and/or relationships. Dealing with
COI should err on the side of transparency and disclosure.
A complete copy of the NOSM Board of Directors approved COI with
Commercial Entities Policy - November 29, 2013 is available for viewing.
For further information, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.