Over the last two years, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has created task forces and committees to examine the current sponsorship model (which has received criticism from many dietitians, health experts, and bioethics experts).
Since our inception, we have pointed to other organizations without problematic conflicts of interest that AND leaders can tap into for advice (i.e.: the American Public Health Association, the American College of Nutrition, and the World Public Health Nutrition Association). To our knowledge, AND has yet to reach out to any of them.
Another great resource we encourage AND leaders to seek out: The Pew Charitable Trusts’ report on best practices for conflicts-of-interest policies.
- “Faculty should not accept industry funding for speaking engagements directed toward other faculty, medical students, trainees, patients, community physicians, health professionals, or the public.”
- “In general, continuing medical education should not be supported by industry. Studies suggest that industry funding of continuing medical education tends to bias topic choices and content in favor of the sponsors’ products and therapeutic areas.”
- “Faculty, students, and trainees should not attend promotional or educational events that are supported directly by industry.”
- “Faculty who participate in speakers’ bureaus are de facto “marketers in academic robes” and lend a patina of academic endorsement to the promotional agenda of the sponsoring companies, which compromises academic integrity.”
These are concrete, specific guidelines that truly attempt to tackle conflicts of interest. As it stands now, even AND’s revised sponsorship guidelines are vague enough that PepsiCo is still considered an appropriate sponsor for a national nutrition organization.