Dangers of neglecting non-financial conflicts of interest in health and medicine

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Abstract

Non-financial interests, and the conflicts of interest that may result from them, are frequently overlooked in biomedicine. This is partly due to the complex and varied nature of these interests, and the limited evidence available regarding their prevalence and impact on biomedical research and clinical practice. We suggest that there are no meaningful conceptual distinctions, and few practical differences, between financial and non-financial conflicts of interest, and accordingly, that both require careful consideration. Further, a better understanding of the complexities of non-financial conflicts of interest, and their entanglement with financial conflicts of interest, may assist in the development of a more sophisticated approach to all forms of conflicts of interest.

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