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December 11, 2018

Should Failure to Disclose Significant Financial Conflicts of Interest Be Considered Research Misconduct?

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Pediatrics, School of Medicine, University of Utah, Salt Lake City
JAMA. 2018;320(22):2307-2308. doi:10.1001/jama.2018.17525

A recent report about a prominent academic investigator who failed to disclose millions of dollars in personal income from corporate relationships highlights the degree to which the system to manage, reduce, or eliminate financial conflicts of interest (COIs) in biomedical research remains inadequate.1 The story quoted the individual as stating that his disclosure lapses were unintentional and his institution maintains that they have “a rigorous and comprehensive compliance program in place to promote honesty and objectivity in scientific research.”1 Yet, as Gellad observed in the article, “If leaders don’t follow the rules, then we don’t really have rules.”1 It is time to strengthen institutional COI policies by considering the intentional or negligent failure to disclose significant financial relationships relevant to the conduct of research to be research misconduct.