Conflict of Interest in Medical Research, Education, and Practice



Patients and the public benefit when physicians and researchers collaborate with pharmaceutical, medical device, and biotechnology companies to develop products that benefit individual and public health. At the same time, concerns are growing that wide-ranging financial ties to industry may unduly influence professional judgments involving the primary interests and goals of medicine. Such conflicts of interest threaten the integrity of scientific investigations, the objectivity of professional education, the quality of patient care, and the public’s trust in medicine.

This Institute of Medicine report examines conflicts of interest in medical research, education, and practice and in the development of clinical practice guidelines. It reviews the available evidence on the extent of industry relationships with physicians and researchers and their consequences, and it describes current policies intended to identify, limit, or manage conflicts of interest. Although this report builds on the analyses and recommendations of other groups, it differs from other reports in its focus on conflicts of interest across the spectrum of medicine and its identification of overarching principles for assessing both conflicts of interest and conflict of interest policies. The report, which offers 16 specific recommendations, has several broad messages.

Publication types

  • Review

Grants and funding

This study was supported by Contract No. N01-OD-4-2139, TO #201 of the National Institutes of Health, Contract No. 63229 of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, The Greenwall Foundation, the ABIM Foundation, Contract No. S07-2 of the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation, Contract No. 1007182 of the Burroughs Wellcome Fund, and also the endowment fund of the Institute of Medicine, all contracts between the National Academies.