Dr. Cézanne and the Art of Re(Peat)Search: Competing Interests and Obligations in Clinical Research

Robyn Bluhm
Jocelyn Downie, Dalhousie University - Schulich School of Law
Jeff Nisker, Western University


Clinician researchers have a number of roles, each of which carries specific obligations. There are times when these obligations may be in competition (up to and including conflict) with each other. Using a narrative case study that describes a group of colleagues discussing their clinical department's participation in an industry-sponsored research protocol, we illustrate a number of the obligations faced by clinician researchers, and discuss how competing interests and obligations can lead to ethical problems. The case study is followed by a discussion of the effect of university–industry relations on competing interests and obligations in both clinical research and the role of the university, and a suggested framework that could be used to determine when university involvement in commercial research is ethically acceptable.