Patients rely on us to provide the best patient care possible independent from the undue influence of the medical device and pharmaceutical industries. Our patients and the public expect objectivity minimizing both actual and perceived industry conflicts of interest (COI).
The AUA has adopted policies that are in compliance with the Council of Medical Specialty Societies (CMSS). This COI policy dictates the appropriate industry interactions at all levels of our professional society, this includes research, clinical activity and educational presentations at any venue. In addition, the Journal of Urology® has specific publication policies governing transparency in disclosure, industry conflicts and author participation.
The purpose of this review is to outline areas where the AUA membership is exposed to potential COI and to provide clarification in these areas.
General Membership Industry Interactions
Appropriate and professional physician and industry interactions can and do improve the quality of patient care, research, and education; it is also possible that appropriate interactions can lead to a decrease in the cost of health care and can enhance the public trust in science and medicine. Policies to protect the public and establish appropriate and professional interactions continue to evolve. While many of these regulations vary by state and institution, they generally limit interactions, or promote greater transparency in connection with interactions that could result in either the actual or perceived improper influence on clinical decisions. As a member of the AUA, it is important to be aware of these ethical rules and guidelines and to be proactive in managing COI. Increased disclosure of physician-industry contacts through mechanisms such as the federal Open Payments website could help document COI, but only if the data is reliable and sufficiently granular that the reported interactions are accurate and the nature and the reason for the interaction is clear.
In addition to complying with relevant laws, regulations and guidelines regarding physician-industry interactions, AUA members should adhere to the following principles:
Providing full and fair disclosure to patients and to colleagues is the key to responsible and effective management of actual or perceived conflicts of interest.
AUA Board of Directors, Fall 2010
Board of Directors, October 2015 (Revised)
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