ACRE issues collaboration guidance

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The Association of Clinical Researchers and Educators (ACRE) issued a code of conduct to guide doctors in what it considers major areas of interaction with health-related industries.

The aim is to help doctors decide whether, or how, to be involved in consulting, advising, CME, peer-to-peer speakers' programs, research or other industry collaborations, ACRE says.

They discourage ghostwriting, define what constitutes “fair value” for receiving compensation, and address such areas as formulary committees and institutional review boards.

ACRE also offers recommendations on how physicians should disclose working relationships and calls for a formal rejection of the terms “conflict of interest” and “competing interests.”

“These terms are largely pejorative,” the recommendations say, in that they infer that “the person making such a disclosure has accepted financial or other rewards in return for statements or advocacy that are not in the best interests of patient care or scientific integrity.”

Guidelines were co-authored by Michael Weber, MD, of SUNY Downstate College of Medicine, along with Harvard Medical School's Thomas Stossel, MD, and other ACRE members.

“These guidelines achieve a much more reasonable approach to managing relationships so that physicians can actively participate in innovation and discovery of new treatment,” said J. Michael Gonzalez-Campoy, MD, PhD, a co-author, in a statement.
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