AASLD: American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases
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Policy on Identifying and Resolving COI 
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AASLD is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) to provide continuing medical education (CME) for physicians, and is responsible for ensuring compliance with the ACCME Essential Areas and their Elements, and the Standards for Commercial Support.℠

AASLD ensures balance, independence, objectivity, and scientific rigor in all its individually or jointly sponsored educational activities. The ACCME requires CME providers to demonstrate that everyone who is in a position to control the content of an education activity has disclosed all relevant financial relationships with any commercial interest to the provider. 

The ACCME considers financial relationships to create actual conflicts of interest in CME when individuals have both a financial relationship with a commercial interest and the opportunity to affect the content of CME about the products or services of that commercial interest.

AASLD, as a CME provider, expects all presentations be compliant with the ACCME content validation statements:

  1. All the recommendations involving clinical medicine in a CME activity must be based on evidence that is accepted within the profession of medicine as adequate justification for their indications and contraindications in the care of patients.
  2. All scientific research referred to, reported or used in CME in support or justification of a patient care recommendation must conform to the generally accepted standards of experimental design, data collection and analysis.

Activities are not eligible for accreditation if they promote recommendations, treatment or manners of practicing medicine that are not within the definition of CME, or are known to have risks or dangers that outweigh the benefits, or are known to be ineffective in the treatment of patients.

All individuals (planners, speakers, authors, reviewers, etc.) in a position to control the content of an educational activity must complete online Disclosure and Attestation Forms during the planning of the activity. Individuals are instructed to disclose all financial relationships with commercial interests or indicate that none exist. The disclosure form identifies financial relationships as those relationships in which the individual benefits by receiving a salary, royalty, intellectual property rights, consulting fee, honoraria, ownership interest (e.g. stocks, stock options or other ownership interest, excluding diversified mutual funds), or other financial benefit. Financial benefits are usually associated with roles such as employment, management position, independent contractor, consulting, speaking and teaching, membership on advisory committees or review panels, board membership, and other activities from which remuneration is received, or expected. Further, circumstances create a conflict of interest when an individual has an opportunity to affect CME content about products or services of a commercial interest with which he/she has a financial relationship.

The following expectations are included on the Attestation form:

  1. presentations must be objective and free of commercial bias for or against any product or device;
  2. presentations must offer a balanced view of current medical practice;
  3. presentations must give a balanced view of therapeutic options;
  4. all clinical recommendations must be based on evidence that is accepted within the profession as adequate justification for their indications and contraindications in the care of patients, and all scientific research referred to, reported or used to support or justify a patient care recommendation must conform to the generally accepted standards of experimental design, data collection and analysis.

Should a potential conflict of interest (COI) exist, the following mechanisms are used to resolve the COI:

  • Peer review of content to ensure the content is valid and aligned with the best interest of the public.
  • Base presentations for clinical care on the best available evidence
  • Peer assessment and evaluation to evaluate the activity for commercial bias.
  • Limit content to exclude recommendations (presentation limited to the data and results of the research).
  • Elimination of conflicted individual from the activity; topic re-assigned to a non-conflicted individual

All individuals are asked to present an evidence-based, unbiased presentation. All recommendations must be based on evidence that is accepted within the profession as adequate justification for their indications and contraindications in the care of patients.

Individuals who refuse to disclose are disqualified from any role involved in the planning, management, presentation, or evaluation of an activity (when applicable).

Activity Evaluation
All financial relationships are disclosed to the program participants prior to the start of the educational activity. Disclosure information is provided in written form and included in all handout material; also, a disclosure slide is shown to the participants prior to the start of the presentation. Verbal disclosure by the presenter is also made. Audience members and moderators are asked to evaluate the objectivity of the presentation and to identify any perceived commercial bias.