Bioethics for clinicians: 17. Conflict of interest in research, education and patient care

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A conflict of interest occurs in a situation in which professional judgement regarding a primary interest, such as research, education or patient care, may be unduly influenced by a secondary interest, such as financial gain or personal prestige.Conflicts of interest exist in every walk of life, including medicine and science. There is nothing inherently unethical in finding oneself in a conflict of interest. Rather, the key questions are whether one recognizes the conflict and how one deals with it. Strategies include disclosing the conflict, establishing a system of review and authorization, and prohibiting the activities that lead to the conflict.

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