AGS Annual Meeting Conflict of Interest Issues
The AGS Program Committee takes conflicts of interest very seriously and expects all AGS Members to do the same. All participants in the program have submitted a financial disclosure form that has been reviewed by the Program Chairs and Program Committee. A Conflict of Interest Resolution Form is used when deemed appropriate.
An example of the Conflict of Interest Resolution process is shown below. If you have any concerns about the content of or perceived conflicts of interest in the Annual Meeting, please bring them to the attention of the Program Committee Chair as soon as possible.
Financial Conflict Resolution Process
All financial conflicts of interest must be resolved. CME providers require that everyone who is in a position to control the content of an educational activity disclose all financial relationships with any commercial interest within the past 12 months. Those whose conflicts are not resolved must be disqualified.
- Presenter limits the conflict to report information that is related to the conflict without recommendations
- Presenter references the “best available evidence in literature” and the grade or level of that evidence and identify the conclusions that the evidence supports
- Presenter steps aside and allows someone else to present
Disclosure and Resolution of Conflict of Interest Policy
AGS ensures that all leaders, volunteers, staff, or any individuals involved in planning and production of AGS activities will disclose any and all potential conflicts of interest and resolve them prior to the activity.
The process for ensuring compliance with this policy applies a multi-step approach, including prevention and monitoring/evaluation.
All individuals who are involved with planning activities must sign and submit a Financial Disclosure Form prior to planning the activity. All financial relationships with any commercial interest must be disclosed. Individuals subject to this requirement include, but are not limited to, activity course directors and program chairs, planning committee members, faculty/speakers/presenters, authors, editors, expert reviewers, moderators, panel members, and AGS staff in position to control content. All financial disclosures must be provided through the AGS online disclosure form or in another preapproved format.
Financial relationships must be disclosed to learners prior to the continuing education activity. Information provided in this manner includes the name of the individual, the name of the commercial interest(s), and the nature of the relationship the person has with the commercial interest(s). If an individual has no relevant relationship, then this must also be disclosed in advance to the learning audience.
All faculty and non-faculty involved with the planning or implementation of an activity who disclose a conflict of interest must resolve that conflict prior to the activity.
Appropriate mechanisms for resolution will be identified by the Program Committee and can include the following:
A non-faculty member (e.g., staff) who has an identified conflict of interest will be asked to excuse themselves from any discussion/decision-making process where the conflict of interest would come into play.
Faculty Member Resolution
- Peer Review: A faculty member with a conflict of interest must submit his/her work to a panel for peer review. Recommendations of the panel, as they relate to conflict, must be taken. If the faculty member refuses the recommendations he/she will be asked to resign and a new faculty member will be appointed.
- Evidence Based: Material to be presented must be the best available evidence in the literature, supported by the grade or level of that evidence and by identifying the conclusions that the evidence supports.
- Other methods deemed appropriate by AGS.
Refusal to Disclose
If a non-faculty member refuses to disclose conflicts of interest, then that person will be asked to step down from the position requiring disclosure of conflicts of interest.
If a faculty member refuses to disclose, he/she will be replaced and not considered to present until such disclosures are made.
Additional information may be requested of faculty/non-faculty to assist in the resolution of conflict of interest. Resolution of the conflict of interest must also be disclosed to the audience in advance.
In addition, all faculty members are required to disclose to learners off-label and/or investigational use of a product and any limitations on the information presented, including preliminary data, anecdotal evidence, or unsupported opinion.
Evaluation/Monitoring for Bias
CME activity participants are surveyed about perceived commercial bias as part of the post-activity evaluation.
The Board of Directors of the AGS recognizes that this organization is best served by representation from the broadest possible diversity of member background, experience, and professional activities setting. As a policy, the Board of Directors is committed to diverse representation on the Board and its committees and staff without regard to race, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, age, gender, or physical disability.
When a potential violation of Accrediting Council for Continuing Medical Education rules occurs during a CME-generating activity at an AGS Annual Meeting or other AGS event, the Program Committee Chair, if he/she has not personally witnessed the violation, will initiate an investigation into the occurrence by speaking with selected members of the audience, as well as the speaker(s) charged with the violation. The Program Committee Chair may request copies of the presentation materials, including slides and outlines. The Program Committee will review the results of the investigation. The Program Committee may require consultation with the CME-accrediting body to determine if a violation has occurred. If it is determined that a violation exists, the Program Committee Chair will communicate directly with the offender to educate him/her on the nature of the violation, review ACCME rules, and issue a warning that potential penalties for future violations may include inability to present at future meetings. Copies of all communication in this regard will be filed with the CME accrediting body.
If an individual commits a second violation, the Program Committee Chair will convene the Program Committee to review the details of both violations and to issue a recommendation to the AGS Board of Directors (BOD) regarding an appropriate penalty for the individual. The AGS BOD may accept, deny, or modify the Program Committee recommendations. The Program Committee Chair (alone or together with the AGS president) will then communicate this final decision to the offending individual.
AGS Board Approved – October 2014