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When it comes to conflicts of interest, the US Food and Drug Administration says appearances count.

For the first time, the agency issued on Tuesday a draft guidance spelling out circumstances when the appearance of a conflict of interest may preclude someone from serving on one of its expert advisory panels. Until now, the FDA had only circulated guidance for determining when an actual conflict exists.


The agency has been dogged periodically by concerns over conflicts of interest on its panels, which are also known as advisory committees. That’s because each panel is populated with medical and scientific experts who make crucial recommendations about whether a drug or device should be approved for use. And so, much is at stake for patients and the companies that make these products.

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  • For one to be in full compliance one would essentially have to divest their portfolio. A simpler solution would be to put your securities in a blind trust. Aa for a definition of “appearance of conflict” look no further than a former president having an ex parts meeting with the current attorney general while his wife is under investigation by the FBI.

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