Regulators Provide Joint Guidance on Conflicts of Interest

Author: Lyn McCarthy

October 5, 2017

The General Medical Council (“GMC”) and the General Pharmaceutical Council (“GPhC”) have joined other health and care regulators in the UK to agree a joint statement on the handling of conflicts of interest.

Joint Statement

Nine health and care professional regulators have signed a joint statement setting out what is expected of all healthcare professionals in respect of avoiding, declaring and managing conflicts of interest across all healthcare settings.

The statement is intended to assist each regulator in maintaining professional standards, formulating codes and guidance and ensuring that professional judgement is not compromised by personal, financial or commercial interests, incentives, targets or similar measures.


In detailing the expectations of professionals in the context of conflicts of interest, the statement outlines that healthcare professionals should:

  • Be open about, and declare, any conflicts of interest they face;
  • Make sure that patients have access to visible information on any fees or charging policies for which they are accountable;
  • Put the interests of persons in their care before their own interests or those of any colleague or organisation;
  • Reflect on their own learning and CPD needs regarding conflicts of interest;
  • Maintain appropriate personal and professional boundaries;
  • Refuse any gifts, favours or hospitality which could be interpreted as an attempt to gain preferential treatment.

The joint statement has been signed by the following organisations:

  • General Medical Council
  • General Chiropractic Council
  • General Dental Council
  • General Optical Council
  • General Osteopathic Council
  • General Pharmaceutical Council
  • Health and Care Professions Council
  • Nursing and Midwifery Council
  • Pharmaceutical Society of Northern Ireland

The joint statement can be accessed here.

Republic of Ireland

Whilst not applicable to regulators in this jurisdiction, the joint statement provides helpful insights into the various issues being faced by professionals and their regulators in the context of commercial arrangements/ inducements.

In the Republic of Ireland, conflicts of interest are addressed specifically in many of the codes of conduct/ ethical guides for the various professions.

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