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CMAJ. 1998 Oct 20;159(8):960-5.

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

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  • 1Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Toronto, Ont.


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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