• Ethics Policy and Guidelines for the Leadership of the ASBMR

     
     
     
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    ASBMR Disclosure Form

    Under the law, there is a Duty of Loyalty that requires nonprofit organizations to identify and resolve conflicts/dualities of interest among decision-makers. This Duty requires Society Leaders to act in the interests of the Society and not for personal or third-party gain, promotion of commercial interests, or financial enrichment. This policy identifies and facilitates the resolution of conflict/dualities of interest.

    Central to the mission of the ASBMR and to the role of members serving as the leadership is to maintain the autonomy and integrity of the organization. To achieve this, the Society must maintain its objectivity so that it is not influenced by corporate or other sources of income or influence in its philosophy, decision-making, and other actions. ASBMR leaders should engage in activities that are free from real or apparent conflicts/dualities of interest and from commercial or external influence or bias.

    Under this Policy, Society leaders are discouraged from: (1) using their positions and status to promote commercial interests; and (2) from participating in decisions and activities where an outside interest affects the leader's loyalty to the Society, or where a leader's action could affect the value of a commercial enterprise in which the leader has a financial interest.

    In particular, these ethics policy and guidelines define for the ASBMR Officers, Councilors, committee chairs and members, Editors, Associate Editors and Editorial Boards of ASBMR journals and publications, task force members, and representatives of ASBMR to other societies:

    1. what constitutes a conflict/duality/duality of interest
    2. how to resolve a conflict/duality or duality of interest with respect to other professional societies, journals, industrial and pharmaceutical concerns and external entities.

    Definitions of Terms

    Conflict/Duality of Interest; Apparent Conflict/Duality of Interest

    A conflict/duality of interest is defined as a situation in which an individual decision-maker has any impediment to being impartial and loyal, such as: (1) a personal, professional, business or volunteer position, responsibility, or interest; or 2) a conflicting duty to another entity where the individual's allegiance may be split between the Society and another organization. An apparent conflict/duality is defined as a situation or relationship that may cause an observer to question whether there is an impediment to impartiality.

    Conflict/Duality Resolution

    For all Officers and Committee Chairs, and all members of the Council, committees, task forces, editorial boards, associate editors and editors, and other ASBMR leadership positions, in the event of any actual or apparent conflict/duality of interest related to service on behalf of the ASBMR, the individual must:

    1. publicly disclose (or have previously disclosed) the conflict/duality before the related discussion takes place
    2. absent him/herself from at least part of the discussion, when directed to
    3. absent him/herself from voting on the related matter, when directed to

    The Policy's Intent and Limitations

    It is the intention of the Society that actual and apparent conflicts and duality of interest and commercial bias be avoided when any leaders of the Society act, speak, represent, and participate in decision-making and policy generation on behalf of the ASBMR.

    This policy does not restrict ASBMR members in their roles as scientists, physicians, researchers, medical professionals, and administrators. Several professional societies, federal agencies, and other organizations have disseminated ethical guidelines available to the ASBMR membership governing the conduct of research, the protection of human and animal subjects, and the care of patients.

    ASBMR Process

    These principles are formulated in concordance with the goals defined in the ASBMR Mission Statement and with the Bylaws of the ASBMR.

    This policy is implemented through the completion and regular updating of conflict/duality of interest/disclosure forms (attached) by each individual who is elected or appointed to a leadership position in the ASBMR. The conflict/duality of interest/disclosure forms shall be distributed to the Council at least six weeks before each meeting of the Council, with the deadline for submission to the Executive Director of four weeks before each meeting. The Executive Director will compile a list of disclosures and the President, Secretary-Treasurer and Executive Director will review the list against the Council Meeting agenda to determine possible conflicts/dualities and will seek the guidance of the Ethics Advisory Committee, if needed. This list of disclosures with specific details omitted will be shared with the Councilors at the Council Meeting. The minutes shall duly reflect this. The Executive Director is charged with collecting the forms and retaining them in the Society's Business Office. As a general rule, the specific information contained therein should not be made public. Only the Executive Director, the Secretary-Treasurer and the President shall be privy to the declarations.

    On a regular basis, Committee and Task Force Chairs and Editors will remind those participating of the ASBMR's Ethics Policy and Guidelines and disseminate Conflict/duality of Interest Disclosure Forms for updating; the minutes shall duly reflect this. The forms will be retained by the Executive Director in the Society's Business Office.

    Any conflict/duality identified by the individual or the Executive Director, Secretary-Treasurer or President shall be resolved prior to discussion and determination of any such topic or issue.

    ASBMR encourages members participate actively in other professional societies and to develop mutually supportive collegial relationships with industry. However, certain activities may give the appearance of a conflict/duality of interest.

    ASBMR encourages the involvement of industry representatives in its governance activities. However, certain volunteer leadership positions require decisions about the allocation of ASBMR's time, priorities, and resources that can affect the interests of industries in the bone and mineral field. These decisions include confidential information about corporate fundraising, program topics and speaker selection, emerging technologies, and long-term budgeting. Given the seeming conflict between these interests, it appears to be an unresolvable conflict for a full time industry employee in the bone and mineral field to serve as an ASBMR Councilor, Officer, or as a member of the Finance, Professional Practice, Ancillary Programs, Ethics Advisory or Advocacy Committees. However, an ASBMR member may propose to the EAC a situation or safeguards that would protect the Society's interest without necessitating the person's frequent absence from discussions and decision-making due to a conflict of interest.

    I. President of the ASBMR

    1. During his/her tenure, the President of ASBMR should refrain from participation in commercially supported meetings for which activities speakers or course directors would normally receive direct financial remuneration from a commercial entity. University- or hospital-sponsored or CME-accredited continuing medical education programs, whose planning and conduct are free from commercial influence, are acceptable.
    2. The President is also charged with following the guidelines provided for Officers in Section II.

    II. Officers of the ASBMR

    Officers of the ASBMR include the President, President-Elect, immediate Past-President, and Secretary-Treasurer. Consistent with their legal duties, their decisions and actions during their tenures must be guided by the best interests and mission of the Society. As Officers, these individuals should engage in activities that are free from conflicts/dualities of interest and from commercial or external influence or bias. To these ends, the Officers are expected to follow this Policy.

    1. During their tenure as ASBMR Officers, Officers should not hold office in other organizations whose missions and/or activities may constitute a conflict/duality of interest with the ASBMR.
    2. Individuals who are Officers in the ASBMR and are officers or nominees for office in other societies should consult with the ASBMR Ethics Advisory Committee to determine whether concomitant service to both organizations would constitute or appear to constitute a conflict/duality of interest for ASBMR.
    3. Officers of ASBMR should not serve as course directors, moderators, chairs, or speakers for commercially supported symposia or continuing medical education activities that are held in conjunction with, but outside, the official program of the Annual Meeting of the ASBMR.
    4. During their tenures, the Officers of ASBMR should consult with others, including the Ethics Advisory Committee, on the significance of actual or apparent conflicts/dualities or biases arising from work with corporate entities in relation to their primary roles as the senior leadership.

      A. For example, with respect to interacting with corporate entities, Officers are: 

      • Permitted to participate on data safety monitoring boards;
      • Permitted to participate as primary investigators in company-supported clinical trials and basic research;
      • Prohibited from serving as an expert witness or consultant on a legal case (some exceptions could apply such as in patent cases; however Officers should seek EAC approval before accepting obligation);
      • Prohibited from participating in company programs at the ASBMR Annual Meeting;
      • Prohibited from participating in company speakers' bureaus; and,
      • Prohibited from serving as chair of a company advisory board.

      B. In addition, Officers and candidates for Officer positions are required to seek the approval of the EAC before serving on company advisory boards regardless of the level of their compensation.

    5. During their tenures, Officers of the ASBMR should not present or testify to federal or other national or international agencies on behalf of corporate entities.
    6. The Officers of ASBMR should not identify themselves as such when they are primarily representing their university, laboratory, research group, other affiliation, or self to the media, press, Congress/other legislative body or NIH/other funding agency.
    7. Officers - like ASBMR Councilors, committee chairs and members, members of ASBMR Task Forces, and staff - are required to maintain the confidentiality of information limited to the ASBMR Executive Committee, Council, the committees, task forces, and staff.
    8. In view of the policy-making and fiscal decisions rendered by the ASBMR Officers, it is expected that they review the agendas of meetings in advance so that they can fully declare and disclose verbally any actual or apparent conflict/duality of interest related to issues that come before the Executive Committee and/or Council. It is further expected that, after disclosure and as directed, Officers shall recuse themselves from discussions in person and in conference calls and from voting on any such issues. In addition, after disclosure and as directed, Officers shall recuse themselves from discussion and voting on of issues that occur spontaneously (e.g., as new business) for which they have any actual or apparent conflict/duality of interest.
    9. The Officers are also charged with following the guidelines provided for Councilors in Section III.

    III. Councilors of the ASBMR

    The powers of Council are to manage the property and affairs and determine the policies of the ASBMR. Councilors are elected to represent all constituents of ASBMR membership and should strive during their tenure on Council to further the mission and goals of ASBMR without external influence and conflict/duality of interest.
    To these ends, the Councilors are expected to follow this Policy.

    1. During their tenures, Councilors should not hold position as Officers (President, President-Elect, Past-President, and Secretary-Treasurer) in other organizations whose missions and activities might constitute a conflict/duality of interest with the ASBMR.
    2. Councilors who are or are being nominated for office in other societies should consult with the ASBMR Ethics Advisory Committee to determine whether concomitant service to both organizations would constitute or appear to constitute a conflict/duality of interest for ASBMR.
    3. Councilors of the ASBMR - like all ASBMR Officers, Committee chairs and members, members of ASBMR Task Forces, and staff - are required to maintain the confidentiality of information limited to the ASBMR Executive Committee, Council, committees, task forces, and staff.
    4. In view of the policy-making and fiscal decisions rendered by the Council, it is expected that Councilors review the agendas of meetings in advance so that they can fully declare and disclose verbally any actual or apparent conflict/duality of interest related to issues that come before the Council. It is further expected that, after disclosure and as directed, Councilors shall recuse themselves from discussions in person and in conference calls and from voting on any such issues. In addition, after disclosure and as directed, Councilors shall recuse themselves from discussion and voting on issues that occur spontaneously (e.g., as new business) for which they have any actual or apparent conflict/duality of interest.
    5. During their tenures, the Councilors of ASBMR should consult with others, including the Ethics Advisory Committee, on the significance of actual or apparent conflicts/dualities or biases arising from work with corporate entities in relation to their primary roles as the senior leadership. For example, with respect to interacting with corporate entities, Councilors are:  
      • Permitted to participate on data safety monitoring boards;
      • Permitted to participate as primary investigators in company-supported clinical trials and basic research;
      • Prohibited from serving as an expert witness or consultant on a legal case (some exceptions could apply such as in patent cases; however Officers should seek EAC approval before accepting obligation)
      • Permitted to serve on company advisory boards;
      • Prohibited from serving as chair of a company advisory board;
      • Prohibited from participating in company programs at the ASBMR Annual Meeting; and 
      • Prohibited from participating in company speakers' bureaus.

    In addition, Councilors are required to seek the approval of the EAC before serving on company advisory boards regardless of the level of their compensation. 

    IV. Nominees for ASBMR Office and/or Council

    1. Members of ASBMR should assure the Nominating Committee that they can act on behalf of the ASBMR, free from bias or unresolvable conflict/duality of interest, prior to accepting nominations for and election to Officer or Councilor status of ASBMR. They must reveal all actual or apparent conflict/duality of interest including duality of interest in their submitted ballot material for publication in the ASBMR Ballot. In addition, nominees must disclose any additional relationships or conflict/dualityconflict/dualitys/dualities of interest that arise between ballot preparation and voting and during service.

    V. Chairs and Members of Committees, Task Forces, and Editorial Boards of ASBMR Publications

    The committees, task forces, and editorial boards of the ASBMR and its publications carry out the work of the Society on behalf of the membership. The distinct functions of the committees, task forces, and editorial boards are intended to address the broad mission of the ASBMR: to promote excellence in research and education, to integrate basic and clinical science in the field of bone and mineral metabolism, and to facilitate the translation of research into clinical practice and the betterment of human health.

    1. Chairs and members of committees, task forces, and editorial boards must assure that they act in these roles in a manner free from commercial bias and that they resolve any conflict or duality of interest or disclose them and then recuse themselves from related deliberations and voting.
    2. In calling meetings or conference calls to order, committee chairs and task force leaders shall regularly request disclosure from members, regarding any items on the agenda of the meeting or call for which they have an actual or apparent conflict or duality of interest. Members shall recuse themselves from voting on and discussing such issues. In addition, chairs and members of committees, task forces, and editorial boards shall recuse themselves from voting on, and from discussion of, issues that occur spontaneously (e.g., as new business) for which they have any actual or apparent conflict/duality of interest.
    3. Program Committee Chairs must assure that all educational activities are planned free of conflict/duality or duality of interest and commercial bias or influence.
    4. Editorial board members must strive to ensure that publications of ASBMR are free from commercial influence and unresolved conflict/duality of interests and that they reflect high-quality, peer-reviewed science and a balanced view of therapeutics available to treat human diseases.
    5. Nominations for awards and/or service as Officers or on Council or committees must be reviewed free from personal and external bias and conflict/duality or the appearance of a conflict/duality of interest. To that end, members of the Awards and Nominating Committees and Council, which approve the Nominating Committee's slate, should disclose to the respective Committee or Council potential duality or conflict/duality of interest, which includes proposing an individual for nomination, providing a letter of recommendation, and/or having a close professional or personal relationship with the nominee. The member with a conflict/duality or the appearance of a conflict/duality of interest should recuse himself/herself from discussions regarding the nominated individual as well as from the vote involving that award or office. A member of either the Awards or Nominating Committee should not serve if he/she is being nominated for an award or office, Council or committee service, respectively.
    6. Chairs and members of committees, task forces, and editorial boards should maintain the confidentiality of information limited to the chairs, committees, editorial boards, task forces, and staff.

    VI. Nominees for Committee Chairs, Members, Editorial Boards and Associate Editors

    1. All members of ASBMR should ensure the Nominating Committee that they can act on behalf of ASBMR, free from bias or any unresolved or unresolvable conflicts/dualities of interest, prior to accepting nominations for service as chairs or members of committees, task forces, and/or editorial board members and associate editors of the ASBMR publications. All actual or apparent conflicts/dualities of interest must be disclosed prior to accepting service as a chair or member of a committee, task force or editorial board, or as an associate editor.

    VII. Representatives of ASBMR to Other Organizations, Federal Agencies, and Commercial Entities

    1. Representatives of ASBMR to other organizations and entities should ensure that they present the mission and policies of the Society in a balanced manner, free from conflict or duality of interest and commercial influence.
    2. Representatives of ASBMR should maintain the confidentiality of information limited to ASBMR, its Council, Executive Committee, committees, task forces, and staff.

    VIII. Nominees for Representatives of ASBMR to Other Organizations, Federal Agencies, and Commercial Entities

    1. All members of ASBMR should assure the Nominating Committee that they can act on behalf of the ASBMR, free from bias or unresolvable conflict/duality of interest, prior to accepting nominations to serve as representatives of ASBMR to other organizations or groups.

    IX. Editors and Associate Editors of Journals and Other Publications of ASBMR

    1. Editors and Associate Editors working on behalf of ASBMR should uphold the highest principles of scientific objectivity in conducting the review and publication of submissions to journals, books, and other enduring materials.
    2. Reviewers and authors of editorials, invited reviews, commentaries, and other materials in ASBMR journals and publications must be selected on the basis of scientific and clinical expertise, without external influence or commercial bias.
    3. Editors and Associate Editors of journals and other publications of ASBMR must strive for objectivity in the review and decision-making process concerning submitted contributions. Their decisions must be free from commercial bias, external influence, and unresolved conflict/duality of interest. If an actual or apparent conflict or duality of interest exists, then an Editor and/or Associate editor must disclose the conflict/duality and then excuse himself/herself from any decision-making regarding the specific submission. Responsibilities for such a submission will be delegated to other appropriately qualified members of the editorial board or another Associate Editor.
    4. Editors and Associate Editors must strive for full disclosure of industrial, pharmaceutical, and financial relationships involving authors as they may have an impact on views derived by the readership of the manuscript. All financial relationships of authors with industry must be fully disclosed, including any personal compensation to authors, any provision of support for personnel, study medication, study procedures, and so forth.
    5. Associate editors should not serve in this capacity or as Editor or Associate Editor for other journals in the field.

    X. Nominees for Editors and Associate Editors of Journals and Other Publications of ASBMR

    1. All members of ASBMR should assure the Nominating Committee that they can act on behalf of the ASBMR, free from bias or conflict/duality of interest, prior to accepting nominations for editorship and associate editorship of journals and publications of the ASBMR.

    XI. Ethics Advisory Committee

    1. To provide guidance for ethical issues of the ASBMR, a panel of individuals will serve in the capacity of an Ethics Advisory Committee to interpret the ethical requirements and standards of the Society. The Committee may on its own initiative, or upon request by any ASBMR Officer or member, review the Conflict/Duality of Interest Disclosures of any Councilor and Officer. The Committee will assist in the review of ethical issues and questions raised by Officers, Council, committees, editorial boards, task forces, members, and staff. Additional experts can be appointed to serve on the Committee on an ad hoc basis, depending on the nature of the issue under consideration. This committee will further propose modifications to the Ethics Policy and Guidelines on an as-needed basis.
    2. The Committee will have six members, including the ASBMR Past-President. He or she will serve a one-year term to coincide with his/her term as ASBMR Past-President.
    3. The Nominees for vacancies will be recommended by the Nominating Committee and approved by the Council. The Ethics Advisory Committee may suggest ad hoc members to the Executive Committee for approval at times between Nominating Committees.

    XII. Ethics Review Committee

    The Executive Committee will function as the Ethics Review Committee, which is responsible for reviewing and deciding actual cases of alleged conflict/duality of interest.

    XIII. Ethics Appeals Committee

    A separate body, the Ethics Appeals Committee, and its members (no fewer than three people); will be designated by the Executive Committee on an as-needed basis. All appeals of any decisions of Ethics Review Committee will be heard and voted upon by the Ethics Appeals Committee. The Ethics Appeals Committee's decisions shall be final.

    XIV. Process Following Adoption of these Ethics Policy and Guidelines

    1. Officers, Councilors, and Committee Chairs in office at the time of adopting these guidelines or subsequent editions shall not be subject to retroactive application.
    2. The qualification for service for all future nominated Councilors and Officers proposed for the Ballot and committee and task force chairs and members will be subject to these principles.
    3. To move toward compliance with the ethical guidelines and principles of ASBMR, at the time of adoption, the extant Officers, Councilors, committees, and task forces must review their membership and ongoing activities for compliance with this code. They should inform the ASBMR President and Executive Director of any instances of noncompliance and discuss with the ASBMR President and Executive Committee how these issues will be handled.
    4.  To ensure that future activities of the ASBMR meet the standards of the Society, it is recommended that the ethical implications of forming new relationships, beginning new ventures, and/or committing funding or resources of the Society be reviewed by Council, the Executive Committee and other relevant committees, concomitant with the other aspects and implications of these ventures.