Expanding Conflicts of Interest in Public Health Research

Subrahmanyam, Vishnu

Non-Profit and Non-Governmental Organizations (NPOs/NGOs) often receive research funds from private for-profit corporations through Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). Harm industries such as tobacco and alcohol have utilized this opportunity to clear themselves of any blame in contributing to the disease burden, thus obscuring the real danger of their products. The association of public health institutions with such harmful industries has given rise to both financial and non-financial Conflicts of Interest (COIs). To resolve conflicts that arise out of this association, institutions have sought prohibition and full disclosure models. This article highlights the necessity to expand conflict of interest and include industries of implicit harm (fast fashion, mining, cosmetics, and sugary drinks) and not limit itself to just tobacco and alcohol. Simultaneously, the article underlines the hurdles in such an expansion. In conclusion, the article provides a hybrid model for conflict assessment that attempts to account for the limitations of a prohibition model as well as a full disclosure model.


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Voices in Bioethics

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August 29, 2022


Harm Industries, Conflict of Interest, Bioethics, Environment, Public Health, Corporate Responsibilities, Disclosure