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Guidelines International Network issues principles for managing conflicts of interest during the clinical practice guidelines development process

Principles address financial, intellectual, and personal conflicts of interest

Philadelphia, October 6, 2015 -- Today in Annals of Internal Medicine, the Guidelines International Network (G-I-N) issued nine principles for disclosing interests and managing conflicts of interest (COI) during the clinical practice guideline development process.

Established in 2002, G-I-N is a network of guideline developers, comprising 100 organizations and 127 individuals from 48 countries. G-I-N has published guideline development standards that emphasize the importance of disclosing interests and managing COI.

"Direct and indirect conflicts of interest have the potential to cause clinicians and patients to question the trustworthiness of clinical practice guidelines, which serve an important role in the practice of medicine," said Amir Qaseem, MD, PhD, FACP, the 2012-14 Chair, Guidelines International Network, and Director, Clinical Policy, American College of Physicians. "The disclosure of interests and management of COI is often unsatisfactory. In response to the call from the international community of the clinical guideline developers to provide guidance in this arena, the Guidelines International Network reviewed the recent research and developments in disclosure of interests and managing COI to develop these principles."

The nine principles address financial, intellectual, and personal conflicts of interest: They include:

  • Guideline developers should make all possible efforts to not include members with direct financial or relevant indirect COI.
  • Guideline development groups should disclose interests publicly, including all direct financial and indirect COI, and these should be easily accessible for users of the guideline.
  • Chairs of guideline development groups should have no direct financial or relevant indirect COI. When direct or indirect COI of a chair are unavoidable, a co-chair with no COI who leads the guideline panel should be appointed.
  • Experts with relevant COI and specific knowledge or expertise may be permitted to participate in discussion of individual topics, but there should be an appropriate balance of opinion among those sought to provide input.
  • No member of the guideline development group deciding about the direction or strength of a recommendation should have a direct financial COI.
  • An oversight committee should be responsible for developing and implementing rules related to COI.

The 2015 G-I-N Annual Conference is October 7-10 in Amsterdam. The 2016 G-I-N Annual Conference will take place in Philadelphia from September 27-30, 2016.

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