Lexington, VA • Monday, October 22, 2007
Washington and Lee University Law Professor Timothy S. Jost has been appointed to an Institute of Medicine committee to examine financial conflicts of interest between medical practitioners, researchers, and educators and the pharmaceutical and biotech industry.
An expert in health care law and policy, Jost is the Robert L. Willett Family Professor of Law and Alumni Faculty Fellow at the School of Law. He is the author of Readings in Comparative Health Law and Bioethics and Health Care at Risk, as well as numerous articles and book chapters on health care regulation and comparative health law. Professor Jost was a member of the Institute of Medicine committee that assessed and recommended improvements in this country's system for protecting human research participants.
Chartered in 1970 as a component of the National Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) is a nonprofit organization that provides unbiased, evidence-based, and authoritative information and advice concerning health and science policy to policy-makers, professionals, leaders in every sector of society, and the public at large. The IOM's Conflict of Interest committee was formed in response to increasing concerns about protecting objectivity and public trust in medical research as industry has become the leading financer of medical research and a major financer of continuing medical education.
In recent years, the media have highlighted failures of individuals and institutions to disclose and manage relationships with industry, including pharmaceutical, medical device, and biotechnology firms. As a result, many institutions and organizations—including governments, academic medical centers, professional societies, and scientific journals—have adopted or strengthened policies on conflict of interest.
The committee will evaluate these responses, consider additional strategies, and review research on the extent of financial relationships, attitudes about such relationships, and the social and psychological mechanisms of bias and influence. The result will be a consensus report that:
- examines and describes conflicts of interest involving health care professionals and industry in different contexts;
- proposes principles to inform the design of policies, guidelines, and other tools to identify and manage conflicts of interest in these contexts without damaging constructive collaboration with industry; and
- considers methods to disseminate, promote, implement, and evaluate these principles and policies.
The work of the committee is expected to last at least two years. More information about the project and the Institute of Medicine is available at the Institute's website: www.iom.edu.