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    ASBMR Revises Ethics Policy and Disclosure Form and Adopts CMSS Code

    Date: November 10, 2010

    ASBMR Revises Ethics Policy and Disclosure Form and Adopts CMSS Code

    In response to public concerns about interactions between medical societies and industry, the ASBMR Council has adopted stricter policies for its Councilors and for disclosures by leaders on relationships with industry. Last year the Council convened an ASBMR Task Force on Industry Interactions, comprised of members from the Ethics Advisory and Professional Practice Committees, to examine the current status of ASBMR leadership interactions with industry and make recommendations on revising ASBMR policies to manage the potential for real or apparent conflicts of interest with leadership.  The Task Force on Industry Interactions reviewed the Ethics Policy and Guidelines for the Leadership of ASBMR and the ASBMR Disclosure Form. The Task Force made recommendations for revising both which were approved by the Council at its October 14 meeting.

    ASBMR Ethics Policy and Guidelines

    The Task Force considered the issue of applying current Ethics Policy restrictions for Officers (Executive Committee) to the Councilors. The Task Force concluded that Councilors are responsible for making decisions at the level of responsibility as those made by the Executive Committee and should be held to the same ethical standards. The revised Ethics Policy now states that Councilors are prohibited from:

    • Participating in company programs at the ASBMR Annual Meeting
    • Participating in company speakers' bureaus
    • Serving as chair of a company advisory board

    ASBMR Disclosure Form 

    The Task Force also recommended revisions to the ASBMR Disclosure Form to provide clarity and capture more detailed information. The Council approved the following revisions to the Disclosure Form:

    • Replace Conflict of Interest Key with More Specific List of Potential Conflicts - The disclosure form replaces the Conflict of Interest Key with a more detailed and specific list of potential conflicts. The list allows for clearer conflict descriptions and the individual would be required to review this list for each industry and/or organization with which there may be conflicts.
    • Specify Institution or Individual Funding and Amounts - A range of dollar amounts was added to the Form along with noting whether or not the individual or their institution received the funding. This information is important in making decisions on whether or not a conflict can be resolved or how it might be managed.
    • Include Section for Identifying Conflicts for Past Three Years - A section was added to the Form asking individuals to provide information on past non-active conflicts for the last three years. This "look back" section was added to provide more context on prior activities that could have the potential for apparent or real conflict.

    Adoption of CMSS Code for Interactions with Companies

    The Council of Medical Specialty Societies (CMSS), representing 32 leading medical professional societies with a collective membership of more than 650,000 U.S. physicians, released the Code for Interactions with Companies in April. This voluntary Code provides detailed guidance to medical specialty societies on appropriate interactions with for-profit companies in the health care sector. The ASBMR Council approved the adoption of the CMSS Code and agreed that ASBMR should adhere to the principles in the CMSS Code. ASBMR will join 22 other Societies that have signed on to adopt the CMSS Code.

    To review the ASBMR Ethics Policy and the Disclosure Form, please visit the ASBMR website.