Conflict of Interest

Under Review: No
Issued by Council: Jan 1, 2010 (Conflict of Interest Involving Personal or Financial Gain by Physicians)
Reissued by Council: Jan 1, 2021; October 2015 (Conflict of Interest)


Note: a glossary of terms can be found at the end of this document. Glossary terms are indicated in teal with a “G” throughout this document.

  1. A conflict of interest may arise where a reasonable person could believe that a regulated member’s duty to act in the patient’s best interests may be affected or influenced by other competing interests, including financial, non-financial, direct, or indirect transactions with patients or others. A conflict of interest—real, potential or perceived—can exist even if the regulated member is confident their professional judgment is not being influenced by the conflicting interest or relationship[1].
  2. A regulated member must resolve any real, potential or perceived conflict of interest in the best interest of the patient.
  3. A regulated member must:
    1. make full, frank and timely disclosure of any real, potential or perceived conflict of interest to the patient;
    2. document the details of the disclosure made to the patient in the patient’s record; and
    3. comply with clause (2) regardless of whether the regulated member has obtained consent from the patient to remain in the conflict of interest.
  4. A regulated member must not:
    1. accept or offer commissions, rebates, fees, gifts or other inducementsG related to patient referrals or devices, appliances, supplies, pharmaceuticals, diagnostic procedures or therapeutic services;
    2. seek or accept any benefit for a referral, service or product provided by another regulated professional to a patient, other than for services provided by a partner, associate, employee or locum of the regulated member;
    3. offer an inducement to another regulated professional conditional on providing a referral, service or product to a patient, whether or not such referral, service or product is medically appropriate; or
    4. encourage another person to offer or accept an inducement conditional on providing a referral, service or product to a patient, whether or not such referral, service or product is medically appropriate.
  5. A regulated member must not refer a patient to any facility or healthcare business separate and apart from the regulated member’s medical practice in which the regulated member has a direct or indirect financial interest unless there are no viable alternatives to meet the patient’s needs and the following conditions are all met:
    1. any benefit the regulated member receives due to their financial interest is based on the regulated member’s financial contribution or effort provided to that facility and not on the volume of patient referrals or other business from the regulated member;
    2. there are no terms or conditions that require the regulated member to make referrals to the facility or otherwise generate business for the facility; and
    3. the regulated member fully discloses the interest they have in the facility or healthcare business to the patient prior to the referral.

GLOSSARY

Conflict of interest: a conflict of interest may arise where a reasonable person could believe that a regulated member’s duty to act in the patient’s best interests may be affected or influenced by other competing interests, including financial, non-financial, direct, or indirect transactions with patients or others. A conflict of interest can exist even if the regulated member is confident their professional judgment is not being influenced by the conflicting interest or relationship. (From CPSO’s Relationships with Industry practice standard)

Inducements: anything that persuades or influences someone to do something.

[1] From CPSO’s Physicians’ Relationships with Industry: Practice, Education and Research (September 2014)


The CPSA Standards of Practice are the minimum standards of professional behaviour and ethical conduct expected of all physicians registered in Alberta. Standards of practice are enforceable under the Health Professions Act and will be referenced in the management of complaints and in discipline hearings. About the CPSA Standards of Practice

Contact

For questions or archived standards, policies and guidelines:
Chantelle.Dick@cpsa.ab.ca