Orthopaedics, ethics, and industry: Appropriateness of gifts, grants, and awards
At the Academic Orthopaedic Society meeting in San Francisco on November 8 and 9, 1996, the membership addressed the issue of ethics and industry in an academic setting. Using a Delphi panel technique, they arrived at a definition of conflict of interest, and 41 separate points of acceptable and unacceptable behavior related to gifts, research awards, and funding of various activities. The Academic Orthopaedic Society Delphi Committee also mailed 191 questionnaires (157 department chairpersons and 34 program directors) to 157 training programs. The respective department chairpersons and program directors were asked to copy and distribute the questionnaires to staff (faculty) and house officers (residents and fellows) to complete anonymously and return them for collation. Ninety-one programs (58%) responded. Three hundred and fifty-two questionnaires were returned (237 from staff, 115 from house officers), each of which expressed agreement or lack of agreement with the Delphi panel report using a Likert scale technique. With only modest (and usually predictable) disagreement on certain items, the final statements by the Delphi panel were supported strongly by the survive results. The Academic Orthopaedic Society believes that the major points arrived at by the panelists should serve as the basis for ethical guidelines in the relation between academic orthopaedic institutions and industry.
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