Conflict of Interest Policy
1.0 PurposeThe American Society for Reproductive Medicine (the “ASRM” or “Organization”) depends on the active voluntary involvement and leadership of its members to accomplish its mission and to maintain its credibility as a valued resource. To do so, all involved will have to scrupulously avoid any conflict between their own respective personal, professional, or business interests and the interest of the ASRM, in any and all actions taken by them in their respective capacities on behalf of the ASRM.
The ASRM and any of its affiliate societies or groups requires its voluntary leaders, including but not limited to directors, officers, journal editors, committee/task force members, and other members, to observe the highest standards of business and personal ethics in the conduct of their duties and responsibilities.
Acts that mix the personal, duality of interest, or financial interests of an Interested Person with the interests of the Organization are indicative of a potential Conflict of Interest (COI). Not every potential conflict is an actual conflict. However, acts or situations that even have the appearance of a COI can be damaging to the reputation of the individual and the Organization. Consequently, the Organization seeks to appropriately manage potential and actual COI, as well as the appearance of such conflicts.
The purpose of the COI policy is to enhance transparency regarding the governance and operations of the ASRM; to meet regulatory and corporate requirements; to protect non-staff leaders and members of ASRM from unfair or unwarranted accusations or imputations of having conflicts; and to protect the interests of ASRM when it is contemplating entering into a transaction or arrangement, that might benefit the private interest of an officer or director, board member, committee chair, or other volunteer in a role of responsibility for the Organization, or might result in a possible excess benefit transaction.
2.0 PolicyASRM understands that certain relationships could lead to actual, perceived, or apparent conflicts of dualities of interest and has determined that all voluntary nonemployee ASRM leaders (see section 3.0) will report at least yearly, and more often as changes occur, concerning all actual or potential COIs of relationships that could result in real or perceived duality of interest such as significant relationships with not-for profit or for-profit organizations, or relationships with commercial organizations whose products, services or businesses are related to the goals of the organization.
All COIs reported will be adjudicated by procedures outlined.
This policy is intended to supplement, but not replace, any applicable state and federal laws governing COIs applicable to nonprofit and charitable organizations.
3.0 Policy ScopeAll voluntary non-employee ASRM leaders including, but not limited to, all individuals serving in any of the following capacities: ASRM Board members and officers; all Editors, including Chief, Associate, Section, and Editorial Editors, and members of the editorial boards, of all official ASRM publications; the Chairs and members of the Practice, Ethics, CME, Patient Education, and other Committees currently established or to be established for future purposes; Affiliated Society and Professional Group Board members and officers; and Chairs of Special Interest Groups, ad hoc Task Force groups, and other committees or groups that may be appointed, planners of CME activities and all speakers.
Individuals serving in any of these roles are subject to the requirement for full disclosure of all relationships as referenced in 2.0 above, including financial relationships that are current or within one year prior to attaining the role.
4.0 DefinitionsInterested Person: Any director, principal officer, or member of the governing board, or who is serving in a capacity as identified in Section 3.0 above, who has a direct or indirect financial interest, as defined below, is an interested person.
Organization: ASRM or any of its affiliate societies or groups.
Duality of Interest: Holding a position as an officer, trustee, director or any other fiduciary role with an organization whether or not remuneration is received for service that could potentially influence or be perceived to influence objectivity or could prevent the interested person from being impartial.
Financial Interest: A person has a financial interest if the person has, directly or indirectly, through business, investment, or family:
- An ownership or investment interest in any entity with which the AMERICAN SOCIETY FOR REPRODUCTIVE MEDICINE ASRM Policy Organization has a transaction or arrangement,
- A compensation arrangement with the Organization or with any entity or individual with which the Organization has a transaction or arrangement, or
- A potential ownership or investment interest in, or compensation arrangement with any entity or individual with which the Organization is negotiating a transaction or arrangement.
Conflict of interest (COI): Individuals have an actual or potential COI when they or their business partner(s), employer, spouse or partner, or any other significant relation, and their spouses or partners have a real or potential financial interest or other potential for gain related to matters before that person relative to their position with the Organization. An individual’s participation may be, or be perceived to be, conflicted or biased when one promotes or advocates decisions that are based on expected or potential personal gain or benefits other than the best interest of the Organization. For this purpose, the term "conflict of interest or bias" means any relationship ship that created a duality of interest, or a financial interest or potential for gain that could impair the individual's objectivity or could create an unfair competitive advantage for the individual or one of the individuals/entities noted above.
Examples of entities with potential conflict: Manufacturers of pharmaceuticals, laboratory supplies or medical devices, or commercial providers of medically related services.
Examples of relationships with potential conflict: Professional financial relationships including, but not limited to stock, stock options, or other form of ownership; equity participation with any entity with whom ASRM has or is actively considering a business relationship; significant relationship with another non-profit organization whose products, business, or services are related to the goals of ASRM; a paid speaker for any for-profit entity with whom ASRM has or is actively considering a business relationship; and legal or professional consulting, research and lecturing with such entities may present potential conflict and should be disclosed.
Examples of potentially acceptable relationships: Financial relationships for research studies, professional/financial relationships with public academic institutions, and professional/financial relationships with non-related nonprofit organizations. There generally is no COI when the individual receives reimbursement of actual expenses.
5.0 Failure to DiscloseFailing to disclose a potential COI can cause harm to the reputation of the ASRM and may impact the ability of the Organization to provide CME. If a volunteer subject to the COI policy realizes that they failed to disclose a COI, they should do so immediately. If a significant COI is discovered by someone other than the volunteer, the ASRM CEO/ED will be informed and the COI will be investigated, adjudicated, and mitigated. Deliberate failure to disclose may result in removal from the leadership position.
6.0 Mitigation of Conflicts of InterestThis COI mitigation policy is designed to help ASRM staff to manage conflicts of interest occurring while serving in a voluntary capacity for the ASRM. The overall goal is to promote transparency, integrity, and impartiality in the decision-making processes.
In general, mitigation strategies include:
- Divestment from the potential COI,
- Recusal from participating in discussions that may involve the COI,
- Peer review of content by persons without relevant COI, and
- Attestation that recommendations are free of commercial bias.
- Members of the ASRM Executive Committee (EC) – EC members are expected to divest themselves of potential COIs. On occasion, divestment may not be possible or practical. On a case-by-case basis COIs may be mitigated by Recusal as determined by the ASRM CEO/ED.
- Members of the ASRM BOD, other than those on the EC - Ideally, BOD members should divest themselves of potential COIs. However, mitigation by Recusal will be allowed as determined by the ASRM CEO/ED.
- Editors, Affiliate Society Members, PG/SIG members, Committee members with COIs will be mitigated by Recusal.
- Members planning CME events. The nature of the relationship will determine the mitigation plan. Divestment is ideal for financial relationships with ineligible entities. However, Recusal may be appropriate as determined by the ASRM CME department. Individuals with significant COIs may not hold planning roles including planning chair.
- Speakers at CME events should also be free of COI. Those with significant COIs may not serve as course directors or moderators. Speakers must disclose their conflicts of interest prior to beginning their educational activity. They should attest that their education is free of commercial bias and should be limited to evidence-based information. Additionally, speakers will be asked to limit their discussion to those that DO NOT acknowledge a specific trade name, product, or company.