New Disclosure Policy Reaffirms ASNC's Commitment to Highest Standards for Quality and Transparency in All Aspects of Document Development
In February, ASNC codified a comprehensive policy that will govern its processes for developing practice guidelines, information and position statements, practice points and other official documents. The policy—
- Elucidates ASNC's commitment to the highest ethical standards and reiterates its tradition of accepting “no industry funding for primary document development”;
- Lists 14 relationship categories that ASNC considers to be conflicts of interest (COIs);
- Explains the “stringent approach” ASNC takes to ensure “responsible, transparent relationships, in which industry support and other relevant entities have no influence on scientific content”; and
- Defines five levels of conflict, classifying them in terms of their potential risk and details how writing group members' participation will be limited based on their COI level for the year preceding document writing.
The policy empowers ASNC's Quality Committee to prevent conflicts of interest by coordinating topic selection and prioritization; writing committee formation, including selection of chairs and co-chairs; document development methodology and procedures; peer review; and approval. Importantly, says ASNC President Raymond R. Russell, MD, PhD, FASNC, the Quality Committee is charged with monitoring all aspects of document development and must approve each writing committee before work begins.
“This policy is one of the most important documents ASNC has published because it defines our values and our efforts to abide by them,” explains Dr. Russell. “On the one hand, we strive for documents that reflect the expertise of individuals at the forefront of the field—those whose knowledge is often honed by working with industry to advance the field. On the other hand, our credibility depends on our own vigilance—in other words, how proactively we guard against the potential for bias and perceived bias. This policy gives us guideposts for monitoring our activities and decision making.”
Dr. Russell notes that the new policy focuses on document development, not on educational programming. ASNC is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) and adheres to all ACCME disclosure requirements.
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