Restoring public trust in scientific research by reducing conflicts of interest

Arthur M. Feldman, Douglas L. Mann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Clinician investigators and biomedical scientists share a fundamental obligation to produce new knowledge that can lead to better treatments or cures for human disease. Conflicts of interest (COIs) occur when professional responsibilities and altruistic goals are influenced by an outside interest that biases clinical judgement or interpretation of data. The public exposure of a failure to disclose COIs in clinical or translational research can lead to a loss of confidence in the medical profession and in scientific discovery, respectively. The Sunshine Act was seen as mitigating the lack of transparency in COI reporting by requiring the pharmaceutical and device industries to disclose all payments to physicians and teaching hospitals through the Open Payment program, a public and searchable database of industry payments. This database has certainly helped, but problems persist, as illustrated by front-page articles in the New York Times describing how undeclared COIs have roiled two major areas of medical research. The first New York Times reports detailed the failure of a top cancer researcher and senior administrator at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center to disclose over $3.0 million in compensation from industry (1). A follow-up report noted that this high level of remuneration was not unusual for influential physicians who serve on industry advisory boards (2). The second series of articles focused on a former Harvard physician-scientist and [].

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3971-3973
Number of pages3
JournalJournal of Clinical Investigation
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2019


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