Conflicts of Interest in Biomedical Research

Reaffirmed January 2021, June 2015

Revised April 2009 with current title 

Originally approved June 2002 titled "Financial Conflicts of Interest in Biomedical Research"


Research is essential to enhancing emergency care for patients through new and improved diagnostic and therapeutic modalities. Various issues may present conflicts of interest in biomedical research, including financial interests, incentives, gifts, philanthropies, honoraria, opportunities, or other conflicts of interest. Such conflicts of interest may jeopardize investigators’ basic responsibilities to protect patient safety and to maintain research integrity. To limit potential conflicts of interest in research and to protect and encourage the valuable endeavors of emergency medicine research, the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) endorses the following guidelines:

  1. Investigators must avoid conflicts of interest that have the potential to affect adversely the rights or welfare of patient subjects or to compromise the integrity, objectivity, or scientific value of their research.

  2. Investigators should disclose any and all significant financial relationships that they or their immediate family members have with sponsors. Such relationships should be disclosed to the investigator’s employing institution, to any institutional conflict of interest (COI) or institutional review board (IRB) that reviews the investigator’s research proposal, to any audience to which the research is presented, to any journal to which the research is submitted for publication, and to potential research subjects as part of the informed consent process.

  3. Investigators must not allow investments in, or financial reimbursement from, companies sponsoring their research to jeopardize rights of patient subjects, or compromise the integrity of the research results.

  4. Financial compensation to investigators should be at fair market value for their efforts and expenses.

  5. Investigators should establish agreements with industry sponsors in writing before initiating the investigation. Such agreements should clearly give researchers primary authority for data collection, analysis, writing, and reporting of the research. Investigators should retain academic freedom to publish both positive and negative results of the research.

  6. If disagreements arise regarding the ethical conduct of research, guidance may be sought through local COI committees, IRBs, ethics committees, or established ACEP channels.

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