Conflicts of Interest in Biomedical Research

Activity Overview

This course provides an overview of ethical concerns regarding conflicts of interest in biomedical research. It also offers several approaches to safeguarding against conflicts of interest and describes related federal policies. Intended primarily for researchers, the course: 

  • Explains what a conflict of interest is and why conflicts are problematic. 
  • Provides data and analysis regarding the extent of conflicts of interest in research. 
  • Assesses strategies for avoiding and remediating conflicts of interest. 
  • Describes NIH and FDA policies related to conflicts of interest in research, as well as institutions’ role in managing researcher conflicts. 

The course offers several brief case studies intended to help learners apply key principles to their own work. 

Penn Med logoThis activity is co-provided by the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and Penn Medicine Nursing.

Target Audience

This continuing education activity has been designed for biomedical researchers. 

Educational Objectives

After completing this course, you will be able to:

  • Define a conflict of interest in the context of biomedical research. 
  • Explain how conflicts of interest lead to harms. 
  • Summarize the impact of conflicts of interest on research. 
  • Summarize strategies for safeguarding against conflicts of interest. 
  • Describe key features of NIH and FDA policies related to conflicts of interest. 

Successful completion of this educational activity and receipt of certificate of credit includes achieving a minimum score of 5 out of 6 on the multiple choice quiz.

Credit Information

Release Date: March 4, 2020

Expiration Date: March 4, 2025

Amount of CME credit: 1.25 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™

Amount of Nursing Contact Hours: 1.25 NCPD hours

Pharmacists: 1.25  ACPE contact hours of continuing pharmacy education credit

Estimated Length of Time for Completion: 75 minutes

Register: Credit           Register: Noncredit

VIDEO SAMPLE: Financial Conflicts of Interest, by Ezekiel J. Emanuel, MD, PhD.

Accreditation and Designation of Credit


The Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

Penn Medicine designates this enduring material for a maximum of 1.25 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.


Penn Medicine Nursing is an approved provider of continuing nursing education by the Pennsylvania State Nurses Association, an accredited approver by the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Commission on Accreditation.  Approval # 124-3-H-15.

Penn Medicine Nursing awards this activity 1.25 contact hours.


Penn Medicine is jointly accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE).

This practice-based activity is approved for up to 1.25 ACPE contact hours of continuing pharmacy education credit. UAN: JA0000324-0000-20-012-H05-P

To receive credit, you must submit your post-test, evaluation and credit request within 30 days of completion.

Physician Assistants

AAPA accepts certificates of participation for educational activities certified for AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™ from organizations accredited by ACCME or a recognized state medical society.

PAs may receive a maximum of 1.25 Category 1 credits for completing this activity.


The planning committee members have disclosed that they have no relevant financial relationships with any commercial interests related to the content of this educational activity:

  • Chase Brown, MD 
  • Ezekiel J. Emanuel, MD, PhD 
  • David Heagerty, BA, CIP 
  • Holly Fernandez Lynch, JD, MBe 
  • Steven Joffe, MD, MPH 
  • Connie Ulrich, PhD, MSN 
  • Adam Zolkover, MA 
  • Laura C. Hart, MFA 

The faculty involved with this activity have reported that their presentations contain no mention of investigational and/or off-label use of products.

Acknowledgment of Commercial Support

There was no commercial support used in the development of this educational activity.


For questions related to this educational activity, contact Penn Medicine Continuing Medical and Interprofessional Education at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania at or at 215-898-8005.

If you have questions, please contact Caitlin O'Neill, Program Manager for Online Educational Initiatives, at 215-746-3971 or