CanMEDS Professional
Conflict of Interest

Conflict of Interest


The American Institute of Medicine (IOM) published a comprehensive report in April 2009 titled  "Conflicts of interest in Medical Research, Education and Practice. 

The IOM defined a conflict of interest as “a set of circumstances that creates a risk that professional judgment or actions regarding a primary interest will be unduly influenced by a secondary interest.”

The primary interests of concern include “promoting and protecting the integrity of research, the welfare of patients, and the quality of medical education.”

Secondary interests “may include not only financial gain but also the desire for professional advancement, recognition for personal achievement, and favors to friends and family or to students and colleagues.”

Of course, public attention has focused primarily on financial conflicts of interest, and the IOM did so as well, viewing them as “not . . . necessarily more corrupting" than other secondary interests but “relatively more objective, fungible and quantifiable” and “more effectively and fairly regulated.”

Since physicians do not practice medicine in a vacuum, conflict of interest is routinely seen as an issue for physicians and institutions.

Let us now look at the impact on practice of marketing, the ways in which we are influenced by promotion.





I’m not influenced by gifts, what’s the problem?


It's just a pen, a sandwich, a pocket book.... it's not a gateway drug! is it?


What is a shill?

The questions and references from this activity are from No Free Lunch, an organization with a mission 'to encourage health care providers to practice medicine on the basis of scientific evidence rather than on the basis of pharmaceutical promotion.'

References for this Activity
1. Wazana A. Physicians and the Pharmaceutical Industry Is a Gift Ever Just a Gift? JAMA. 2000;283:373-380
2. Katz D, Caplan AL, and Merz JF. All Gifts Large and Small: Toward an Understanding of the Ethics of Pharmaceutical Industry Gift-Giving. The American Journal of Bioethics. 2010;10(10):11 — 17. First published on: 12 October 2010 (iFirst)