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November 12, 2008

Issues Behind Disclosure of Conflicts of Interest

JAMA. 2008;300(18):2120. doi:10.1001/jama.2008.568

To the Editor: In their Commentary, Drs Cain and Detsky1 discussed that conflicts of interest are more likely to result from unintentional bias rather than intentional bias, based on studies of human psychology. This underscores the need for full disclosure of conflicts of interests among researchers, even physicians. The Commentary considered the study by Cain et al2 that suggested that full disclosure may have the opposite effect of making professionals more biased. However, the primary purpose of disclosure is not to make researchers less biased; it is to inform readers and the public of potential bias so that they can make their own judgments on the credibility of the information presented.