Declaration of Interest

 

In order to remain transparent and appropriately inform audiences participating in AVA Conferences, AVA requires all speakers to disclose any involvement with industry that could influence their presentation.

Conflict of interest for an individual has two components:

  • a financial relationship with a commercial interest (e.g. pharmaceutical company or medical device manufacturer); and,
  • the opportunity to influence content of an AVA Conference Session to products and services of a commercial interest.

The audience of any AVA Conference should be aware of any potential biases that a presenter may have. In events directly sponsored by industry, there is an explicit recognition of the nature of the sponsorship and the audience can properly evaluate the content of the presentations or teaching. Some presenters may have undisclosed legitimate relationships with industry which are not as readily visible and may give a perception of bias.

Examples of relationships which should be disclosed include, but are not limited to:

  • any direct financial interest in a company whose interests are in the area(s) covered by the educational material;
  • investments held by the speaker (e.g. holding stock) in such a Company;
  • membership on such a Company’s Advisory Board or similar committee;
  • current or recent participation in a clinical trial sponsored by such a Company or organisations;
  • assisting in the design of clinical studies concerning the use of products manufactured by such a Company;
  • participating in clinical studies using products produced by such a Company;
  • research by the speaker sponsored by the Company or organisation;
  • paid speaker by such a Company;
  • the speaker holds a patent for a product referred to in the presentation or marketed by such a Company.

AVA is of the belief that all speakers need to declare their interests, and has agreed to put in place safeguards to manage conflicts of interest and to prevent the insertion of commercial bias. We have added a Declaration of Interest to all contracts for speakers to fill out and speaker packs, which will allow AVA to determine if actual conflicts of interest exist.  In the event of actual conflict, the AVA will need to provide documentation to the relevant committee on how the conflict will be managed.

We have also included a slide template (.ppt), which every speaker must fill out and present as the second slide in their presentation (immediately following the title slide).  Please note, payment of the stipend or permission to speak is dependent on the use of a disclosure slide

Acceptable ways to manage conflict may include:

  • restrict involvement of the person to areas outside of the area of conflict;
  • have an alternate speaker address areas that serve as a conflict for the proposed speaker;
  • choose an alternative speaker, planner, or author entirely;
  • change the focus of the activity to one that avoids the conflict; and/or,
  • subject all information to peer review by parties without such a conflict.

Depending on the circumstance, other acceptable safeguard options may exist.  Combining two or more safeguards or developing a unique mechanism may also be appropriate.

Disclosure by the instructor must be done verbally, using a slide or a handout at the beginning of a presentation. To ensure that audiences receive complete information, speakers who have no involvement with industry should inform the audience that they have nothing to disclose, i.e. cannot identify any potential conflict of interest.

(modified with permission from the ACVIM disclosure policy)

 

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