[Skip to Navigation]
May 2, 2017

Conflict of Interest: Why Does It Matter?

Author Affiliations
  • 1Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Palo Alto, California
JAMA. 2017;317(17):1717-1718. doi:10.1001/jama.2017.1869

Preservation of trust is the essential purpose of policies about conflict of interest. Physicians have many important roles including caring for individual patients, protecting the public’s health, engaging in research, reporting scientific and clinical discoveries, crafting professional guidelines, and advising policy makers and regulatory bodies. Success in all these functions depends on others—laypersons, professional peers, and policy leaders—believing and acting on the word of physicians. Therefore, the confidence of others in physician judgment is of paramount importance. When trust in physician judgment is impaired, the role of physicians is diminished.