Emerging issues in the management of conflicts of interest
The management of conflicts of interest (COIs) arising from relationships between researchers/policymakers and organisations with vested interests continues to generate international debate. Recent developments including the Cochrane Collaboration review of its conflict of interest policy, and the extension of the COI policy at the journal Addiction to relationships with the emerging cannabis industry. Researchers have drawn attention to lack of transparency in some declarations of conflicts, and there have been several examples of government research or public health agencies having to navigate difficult COI issues (e.g. Public Health England; NHS Health Scotland; the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism).
The International Confederation of Alcohol, tobacco and other drug Research Associations (www.icara.uconn.edu) is an international, multidisciplinary organization bringing together ATOD research organisations on a global level to promote, support and enhance ATOD science locally and globally through professional exchange, collaboration and other activities. ICARA represents national and international ATOD (Alcohol, tobacco and other drug) research societies and organizations and recognizes that they operate in very different financial contexts, with a few having steady sources of income from studies, fees, conferences or journals, and others relying on government support or voluntary donations. Many will also be supported by sponsorship or funding from private organizations for conferences or other activities and a key focus of the work of ICARA for 2019 is the launch of new Guidelines on the Management of Relationships with Organizations with Vested Interests.
Aims: To facilitate participant discussion and reflection on the prevalence, acceptability and management of potential conflicts of interest in relationships between researchers/practitioners and organizations with vested interests.