Conflicts of Interest

Conflicts of Interest and Research

A conflict of interest exists where a researcher’s outside interests or activities could improperly affect, or give the appearance of affecting, the researcher’s activities at Columbia.  Problems can arise from the failure of researchers to adequately disclose potential conflicts.  For more information on Conflict of Interest and Research, visit the Office of Research Compliance and Training website, or review the Rascal COI training course here.  Here are a few recent cases of conflicts of interest and research:


Conflict of Interest Cases

Joseph Biederman – In 2008, Harvard psychiatrist Joseph Biederman was sanctioned by Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital for failing to disclose over $1 million in consulting fees from the pharmaceutical industry.  Read the New York Times article.

Charles B. Nemeroff – In 2008, Emory University professor Charles Nemeroff stepped down as the chair of psychiatry, and was later barred by Emory from acting as an investigator or co-investigator on National Institutes of Health grants for at least two years, following the revelation by U.S. Senator Charles Grassley that Nemeroff had failed to disclose more than $1.2 million in income from drug companies while conducting federally-funded research involving those companies’ products.  Read the New York Times article.