Scientific Integrity and Disclosure of Financial Relationships

Scientific Integrity and Disclosure of Financial Relationships

The American Society of Retina Specialists is committed to ensuring that all continuing medical education (CME) information is based on the application of research findings and the implementation of evidence-based medicine. It seeks to promote balance, objectivity, and absence of commercial bias in its content. All persons in a position to control the content of this activity must disclose any and all financial interests. The Society has mechanisms in place to resolve all conflicts of interest prior to an educational activity being delivered to the learners, including but not limited to:

  • Masked review of Annual Meeting abstract submissions.
  • Peer review of all content prior to presentations in order to ensure that content is: A) scientifically valid and aligned with the best interest of the public and B) does not promote a specific proprietary business interest of a commercial interest.
  • Moderators to monitor for bias and balance panel discussions.

As a final check, the meeting evaluation form addresses participants’ impressions of the presence or absence of commercial bias. Likewise, a proctor attends each session and provides his/her impression of the presence or absence of commercial bias. The Society’s Education and/or Program Committees are advised of any significant allegations of commercial bias and will investigate on a case-by-case basis. If it is determined that bias was present, speakers will receive official notification and warning for the first occurrence. Repeated failure to comply with the disclosure policy, when known and deliberate, may result in exclusion from contribution to ASRS educational content or leadership positions for one year.

ACCME definitions:

Commercial Bias: Content or format in a CME activity or its related materials that promotes the products or business lines of an ACCME-defined commercial interest.

 Commercial Interest: A commercial interest, as defined by the ACCME, is any entity producing, marketing, re-selling, or distributing health care goods or services consumed by, or used on, patients. The ACCME does not consider providers of clinical service directly to patients to be commercial interests.

Relevant financial relationships: The ACCME requires anyone in control of CME content to disclose relevant financial relationships to the accredited provider. Individuals must also include in their disclosure the relevant financial relationships of a spouse or partner. The ACCME defines relevant financial relationships as financial relationships in any amount that create a conflict of interest and that occurred in the twelve-month period preceding the time that the individual was asked to assume a role controlling content of the CME activity. The ACCME has not set a minimal dollar amount—any amount, regardless of how small, creates the incentive to maintain or increase the value of the relationship. Financial relationships are those relationships in which the individual benefits by receiving a salary, royalty, intellectual property rights, consulting fee, honoraria for promotional speakers’ bureau, ownership interest (e.g., stocks, stock options or other ownership interest, excluding diversified mutual funds), or other financial benefit. Financial benefits are usually associated with roles such as employment, management position, independent contractor (including contracted research), consulting, speaking and teaching, membership on advisory committees or review panels, board membership, and other activities from which remuneration is received, or expected.