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Revista chilena de neuro-psiquiatría

On-line version ISSN 0717-9227


TAGLE, Patricio et al. Conflicts of Interest: An Unpostponable Issue. Editorial Committee Panel. Rev. chil. neuro-psiquiatr. [online]. 2004, vol.42, n.1, pp.09-21. ISSN 0717-9227.

Our Editorial Committee presents a panel discussion on conflicts of interest in order to formulate a reflection on the issue. The panel defines "conflict of interest" both in general terms and specifically for publishing, and analyses other scenarios in medical practice in which conflicts of interest could potentially be a problem. The purpose of explicit declarations on conflicts of interest is evaluated as a means of bringing about greater preventive transparency, which is the key to community control over the problem. Finally, an analysis is made of cases and examples in which the interests were not made clear, as well as a study of how users of biomedical information are affected when they learn of conflicts of interest. From the information presented in the panel discussion, it can be concluded that conflicts of interest do indeed exist, that it is an issue that must inevitably be addressed, and that it is naïve to suppose that it is a problem that can easily be brought under control. We must create instruments to make the relationships and ties natural to our daily activities more transparent. Many of those who openly declare their conflicts of interest have healthy ties. In a scenario of explicit declarations, undeclared ties are potentially suspect by their very nature. A group consensus on an issue does not result in immediate behavior changes, but it is a first step that must be taken immediately. The possibility of a particular slant must be taken into consideration in a systematic analysis of any article, even in those articles backed by a group of professionals or by scientific associations. Finally, to distance oneself from the guidelines of the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors is an unwise and isolating course of action for a biomedical publication.

Keywords : conflict of interest; medical ethics; professional practice; publishing policy.

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