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June 25, 2003

Handling Conflicts of Interest Between Industry and Academia

Author Affiliations

Letters Section Editor: Stephen J. Lurie, MD, PhD, Senior Editor.

JAMA. 2003;289(24):3240. doi:10.1001/jama.289.24.3240-a

In Reply: We agree with Dr Egilman and Mr Ehrle that many trustees, presidents, chancellors, provosts, deans, and department chairpersons—all examples of persons whom we have termed "institutional decision makers"—have developed extensive ties with industry. They misinterpret our recommendations, however, as to "manage" rather than to "eliminate" the financial conflicts of interest of institutional decision makers. For instance, we distinguished the research-related financial interests of institutional review board members and institutional decision makers from those of the institution itself. We believe that while there are legitimate justifications for permitting institutions to derive certain income from research (such as through licensing agreements with industry), no legitimate justifications exist for allowing review board members or institutional decision makers to possess significant financial interests in the research they are responsible for overseeing.

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