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University of Iowa News Release


July 1, 2009

UI Health Care to implement new conflict of interest policy July 1

Starting today (July 1), University of Iowa Health Care will implement a new policy governing conflict of interest. The policy, which was announced in January, establishes guidelines and disclosure requirements for interactions between the health care industry and all faculty, staff and students affiliated with UI Health Care.

Under the policy, faculty and staff affiliated with UI Health Care will be required to complete annually an online "External Relationships Disclosure" form. The disclosure will require faculty and staff to identify whether they have any external financial relationships; and if so, provide the requested details. The disclosure requirement applies to everyone, regardless of whether or not they have a financial relationship with an entity outside the UI. During this first year, students will make external disclosures using a paper form, which will be available later this year.

The disclosure form will be available starting July 1, and faculty and staff will have until Sept. 1 to complete it for the period covering July 1, 2009, to June 30, 2010. This information will be made public later this year, once the data has been collected and an online, public database is developed.

The new policy covers interactions and relationships that faculty and staff may have with external entities including pharmaceutical, medical device, medical publishing or medical equipment companies.

"Interactions between industry and academic medical centers can and do contribute to advances in patient care, research and education. However, increasingly, we recognize that such relationships also have the potential to create conflicts of interest," said Jean Robillard, M.D., vice president for medical affairs for UI Health Care. "We have a responsibility to our patients to ensure these collaborations are held to high ethical standards, including complete transparency, and to ensure that they do not create unintended conflicts of interest or compromise the integrity of the institution's mission."

Under the policy, UI Health Care personnel may not accept any gifts, including meals, free samples, medical supplies or travel stipends from industry representatives. The policy also lays out rules covering compensation from industry, such as consulting fees and honoraria for speaking engagements, and for serving on UI Health Care formulary and purchasing committees. In addition, the policy covers publishing, site access for vendors and other industry representatives, and rules for sponsoring continuing medical education.

"The disclosure process we have developed to share information with the public underlines our commitment to transparency. Coupled with the policy's guidelines, it is the foundation of a system that will allow us to better monitor and manage the variety of relationships that our faculty and staff have with external entities in a way that is open and accessible to the public," said Debbie Thoman, assistant vice president for compliance and accreditation and UI privacy officer.

The new policy, which was developed by a 40-member task force with consultation and input from faculty and staff across UI Health Care, will be administered by the Joint Office for Compliance, directed by Thoman. Implementation of the policy and monitoring of the disclosures will be overseen by the Conflict of Interest Oversight Committee, chaired by Jennifer Niebyl, M.D., professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the UI Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine.

Niebyl said that while the policy is permanent, it will be subject to ongoing review.

"The oversight committee is committed to monitoring the results of the policy and the disclosure process and making revisions as necessary," she said.

The new policy complements existing UI policies related to conflict of interest and conflict of commitment; it does not replace disclosures for conflicts of interest in research, continuing medical education and the "Annual Disclosure of Outside Professional Activities" required by the Provost's Office.

For more information visit,

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Health Care Media Relations, 200 Hawkins Drive, Room E110 GH, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-1009

CONTACT: Jennifer Brown, 319-356-7124,