AASLD Code for the Assessment and Management of Conflict of Interest

  • Purpose and Application
  • Definitions
  • Principles and Practice
  • Appendices
  • Footnotes

Purpose and Application

Complex relationships with for-profit and not-for-profit organizations and entities may by their existence present a perceived or real conflict with the missions and values of the AASLD. In as much as the existence of real or perceived conflicts of interest serves to undermine the stature, integrity, creditability and function of the AASLD, AASLD must insure that its membership, leadership and the public-at-large understand the importance it places on identification and resolution of conflicts. The independence and the credibility of AASLD require implementation of a clear policy that can be enacted in a practical, fair and transparent manner.

Conflicts of interest are defined as any circumstances that create a risk that professional judgments or actions regarding a primary interest will be unduly influenced by a secondary interest. 1 Primary interests are those associated with the stated mission of the AASLD. Secondary interests may be financial or non-financial in nature. (e.g. intellectual conflict of interest,2 membership in other organizations, or institutional or corporate associations).

Application of this policy is to be temporally phased in with the addition of new members and reappointments. Further, the degree of permitted associations will be regulated in a fashion that is commensurate with the influence that the individual has in the creation, implementation and/or execution of AASLD functions. Since the AASLD plays roles of advocacy for clinical care, education and research in liver diseases, the policy shall cover all individuals who participate at any level in those functions. The definition of conflict, review of disclosures and the adjudication and resolution of conflicts requires a multi-layer effort that is charged to the Ethics committee. The policy outlined will require diligent interpretation in complex cases, with the goal of providing clarity for members as they engage in their functions. The overriding goal is to provide objective conflict management. The application of this Code is not intended to be punitive to the member. The process is by its nature fluid and ongoing reporting and review will be necessary.