Conflicts of Interest

The practice of medicine inherently presents potential conflicts of interest. There is nothing intrinsically unethical in finding oneself in a position of conflict of interest, however the conflict must be recognised and managed appropriately. When conflicts arise the interests of patients, whose ethical treatment is the primary focus of the orthopaedic profession, should always be placed above secondary gains.

Surgeons have an obligation to disclose any conflicts to patients, colleagues and/or the public. They must strive to resolve any interest by maintaining a professional relationship with patients and always acting in their best interest.

Relationship with Industry

A conflict of interest arises when a clinician, or an immediate family member, has a direct or indirect financial arrangement, positional interest or other relationship with industry, which could be perceived as influencing the clinician’s obligation to act in the best interest of patients.

A financial arrangement includes, but is not limited to:

  • Compensation for employment
  • Compensation from patients’ referral pattern
  • Paid Consultancy, advisory board service etc.
  • Share ownership or options
  • Intellectual property rights (patents, copyrights, trademarks, licensing agreements, royalty arrangements)
  • Paid expert opinion
  • Honoraria, speaker’s fees
  • Gifts
  • Travel, meals, hospitality

A positional interest occurs when the clinicians or his/her family member has any form of relationship with a company with which the clinician has or is considering a transaction or arrangement.