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Ethics and COI

COI Policy for Official ATS Activities

Principles for ATS Conflict of Interest (COI) Management

The ATS has confidence in the integrity of its members and others who participate in official ATS activities.

ATS membership is diverse. ATS members can have their primary work affiliations in academic institutions, industry, patient care, government, research, and administration. Regardless of affiliation, the ATS values the contributions of all of its members and affirms the value of different experiences and points of view.

The diverse experiences and relationships that positively contribute to the work of the Society can also cause potential “conflicts of interest” that need to be acknowledged and managed to ensure that ATS activities always reflect the best available evidence and scientific rigor.

Potential conflicts of interest are circumstances that create a risk that professional judgments or actions regarding a primary interest will be unduly influenced by a secondary interest. A conflict of interest is a risk, not necessarily the existence of biased judgment or action.

Accrediting and standard-setting organizations such as the Accreditation Council on Continuing Medical Education (ACCME), the Council of Medical Specialty Societies (CMSS) and the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) require the disclosure and management of commercial interests1 and other potential conflicts of interest relevant to the specific activity (for example, relevant to the content of a presentation at the ATS conferences or an ATS journals manuscript, or to the content of an ATS clinical practice guideline or other official ATS documents and actions).

The ACCME defines ineligible companies as those whose primary business is producing, marketing, selling, re-selling, or distributing healthcare products used by or on patients. In addition, the ATS also requires disclosure of any payment or services received from a manufacturer or distributor of a product or process thought to cause or aggravate the respiratory disease or disorder under investigation.)

The ATS also requires specific disclosure of any relationships with a tobacco entity since January 1, 2000, including ownership of stocks or options of a tobacco entity (other than mutual funds), and those of their spouse or life partner. In addition, individuals known by ATS to have a present (current) relationship with a tobacco entity, or to have had such a relationship within the past twelve months, are not eligible for the following:

  • nomination or election as an ATS Officer, ATS Board Member, or Chair or Chair-elect of an ATS Assembly, Committee or Task Force;

  • serving on any other official ATS committee;

  • serving as an ATS Editor, Deputy Editor, Associate Editor, Guest Editor or member of an ARS editorial board; acceptance for publication in ATS journals;

  • serving on Assembly planning, nominating and program committees.

  • serving as a planner, chair or moderator, or presenter for ATS scientific and educational programs.

  • serving on a writing committee of an ATS statement or guideline.

  • serving as an ATS reviewer, including but not limited to, ATS grant proposals, documents, journals, websites, and abstracts.

  • receiving ATS recognition awards.

  • serving as an official spokesperson for the ATS or official representative of the ATS.

More information on ATS policies on tobacco industry involvement is available at the related policy linked below.

More explanation of the principles underlying ATS COI management is available at the following policies enacted by the ATS Board of Directors: