Conflict Of Interest In Biomedical Research

05-07-2011

The Hellenic National Bioethics Commission published an opinion on the issue of conflict of interest in biomedical research. Generally, the Commission supports the collaboration between the private sector and hospitals or research institutes, but under the strict condition that the ethical integrity of research is protected. According to the Commission the researcher has always the moral duty to search for and reveal the truth, even when the research results are unfavorable to the sponsor. An efficient way to eliminate conflict of interest is to conduct collaborative clinical trials, which will compare more products under a common protocol, leading to more reliable results. In cases of negative results either for the efficiency or safety of the product under trial, the results must be published. Any complaints concerning plagiarism, falsification or conscious concealment of results must be immediately investigated.

In addition to the Medical Ethics Act (ν. 3418/2005), the Commission recommends that additional control procedures and measures are adopted, including: a) Establishment of Special Ethics Committees in hospitals and research institutes that will control the implementation of research protocols, b) Establishment of a Central Research Committee in each University, with members independent of the institute's administration, c) Establishment of internal research ethics procedures in industries that sponsor clinical trials, d) Disclosure of any possible working relationship between the researcher and the sponsor to the responsible hospital authorities, State authorities, editorial boards of scientific journals upon publication of results, conference organizing committees upon presentation of results and each participating patient, e) Establishment of a regular education to individuals involved in research on the conflict of interest control mechanisms. Finally, the Commission supports the right of every individual engaged in the clinical trial to access control mechanisms.

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