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What is a Conflict of Interest?

Conflict of interest means that the expert or his/her partner (“partner” includes a spouse or other person with whom s/he has a similar close personal relationship), or the administrative unit with which the expert has an employment relationship, has a financial or other interest that could unduly influence the expert’s position with respect to the subject-matter being considered.  An apparent conflict of interest exists when an interest would not necessarily influence the expert but could result in the expert’s objectivity being questioned by others.  A potential conflict of interest exists with an interest which any reasonable person could be uncertain whether or not should be reported.

Different types of financial or other interests, whether personal or with the administrative unit with which the expert has an employment relationship, can be envisaged and the following list, which is not exhaustive, is provided for your guidance.  For example, the following types of situations should be declared:
 
  1. a current proprietary interest in a substance, technology or process (e.g. ownership of a patent), to be considered  in - or otherwise related to the subject-matter of - the meeting or work;
  2. a current financial interest, e.g. shares or bonds, in a commercial entity with an interest in the subject-matter of the meeting or work (except share holdings through general mutual funds or similar arrangements where the expert has no control over the selection of shares);
  3. an employment, consultancy, directorship, or other position during the past 4 years, whether or not paid, in any commercial entity which has an interest in the subject-matter of the meeting/work, or an ongoing negotiation concerning prospective employment or other association with such commercial entity;
  4. performance of any paid work or research during the past 4 years commissioned by a commercial entity with interests in the subject-matter of the meetings or work;
  5. payment or other support covering a period within the past 4 years, or an expectation of support for the future, from a commercial entity with an interest in the subject-matter of the meetings or work, even if it does not convey any benefit to the expert personally but which benefits his/her position or administrative unit, e.g. a grant or fellowship or other payment, e.g. for the purpose of financing a post or consultancy.
 
With respect to the above, an interest in a competing substance, technology or process, or an interest in or association with, work for or support by a commercial entity having a direct competitive interest must similarly be disclosed.

With respect to items 1 and 2 in the list above, the interest should only be declared if it is current.  With respect to items 3, 4 and 5, any interest during the past 4 years should be declared.  If the interest is no longer current, please state the year when it ceased.  With respect to item 5, the interest ceases when a financed post or fellowship is no longer occupied, or when support for an activity ceases.

Assessment and outcome:  The information submitted by you will be used to assess whether the declared interests constitute an appreciable real, potential or apparent conflict of interest.  Such conflict of interest will, depending on the situation, result in (i) Expert being asked not to take part in the portion of the discussion or work affecting that interest, (ii) being asked not to take part in the meeting or work altogether, or (iii) if deemed by MOPH to be appropriate to the particular circumstances, and with Expert agreement, Expert taking part in the meeting or work and the Expert interest being publicly disclosed.

Information disclosed on this Form may be made available to persons outside of MOPH only when the objectivity of the meeting or work has been questioned such that the Director-General considers disclosure to be in the best interests of the Organization, and then only after consultation with you.
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