Conflict of Interest: Legal and Ethical Aspects

International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics, Vol. 92, pp. 192-197, 2006

6 Pages Posted: 14 Nov 2006

See all articles by Bernard Dickens

Bernard Dickens

University of Toronto - Faculty of Law

Rebecca J. Cook

University of Toronto - Faculty of Law

Abstract

Conflicts of interest arise when those who owe conscientious duties to others appear to have personal interests that might tempt them to subordinate those duties to their self-interest. Conflicts of interest are distinguishable from conflicts of commitment, which arise when individuals bear two or more mutually exclusive duties to others. If persons in conflicts of interest favor their self-interest, they may violate binding legal duties such as fiduciary duties. Conflicts arise when, for instance, medical practitioners refer their patients to other practitioners in exchange for payments (fee splitting), and when they gain secondary incomes such as from testing patients' samples in laboratories in which they hold ownership or investment interests. Financial dealings with commercial sponsors may place researchers in apparent conflicts of interest with research subjects. When conflicts of interest are unavoidable, they may be resolved by appropriate disclosure.

Keywords: Conflict of interest, Research conflicts, Fiduciary duty, Conflict of commitment, Self-interest, Disclosure of interest, Fee-splitting

JEL Classification: I18, K19

Suggested Citation

Dickens, Bernard and Cook, Rebecca J., Conflict of Interest: Legal and Ethical Aspects. International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics, Vol. 92, pp. 192-197, 2006, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=944798

Bernard Dickens (Contact Author)

University of Toronto - Faculty of Law ( email )

78 and 84 Queen's Park
Toronto, Ontario M5S 2C5
Canada
416-978-4849 (Phone)
416-978-7899 (Fax)

Rebecca J. Cook

University of Toronto - Faculty of Law ( email )

78 Queen's Park Cr.
Toronto, Ontario M5S 2C5
Canada
416-978-4446 (Phone)
416-978-7899 (Fax)

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