Bias in the evaluation of conflict of interest policies

J Law Med Ethics. 2012 Summer;40(2):368-82. doi: 10.1111/j.1748-720X.2012.00670.x.


Physicians are affected by the conflict of interest (COI) policies they help formulate. This study examines whether physicians evaluate these policies impartially. One hundred and seventy-nine physicians, 224 financial advisors, and 1,430 members of the general public evaluated the fairness and efficacy of a COI policy in either a medical or financial context. Physicians were more critical of the medical COI policy compared to a financial COI policy, while financial professionals displayed the reverse pattern and control respondents rated both policies similarly. This suggests a bias against COI policies by those who will be directly affected.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Conflict of Interest*
  • Ethics, Institutional*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Judgment*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Organizational Policy*
  • Physicians
  • Policy Making*
  • United States