The principle role of the Ethics Committee is to ensure the integrity of the EASL Clinical Practice Guidelines and of the EASL Governing Board.
The EEC’s role is to review and control the professional status of panel members involved in the creation of the EASL Clinical Practice Guidelines to eliminate the potential for real or perceived bias which might undermine the integrity of the guidelines. In addition, the Ethics Committee will respond to complaints made by EASL members, governmental authorities or regulatory agencies about the conduct of any Governing Board member and members of any other EASL board or EASL representative. The Ethics Committee will agree on guidelines for reviewing appointments to the Clinical Practice Guideline panels. Candidate membership of the panels will be proposed by the Governing Board for approval by the Ethics Committee according to these guidelines.
The independent EASL Ethics Committee was established in early 2011.
The EASL Governing Board took the decision to form an ethics committee to oversee ethical practice within EASL and across its various activities such as the creation and writing of Clinical Practice Guidelines (CPGs). EASL takes a leading international role in producing Clinical Practice Guidelines and educational activities for clinicians and scientists. Many clinicians in Europe and beyond European borders use the EASL CPGs in everyday practice and they are used in the formulation of policies at a local, and occasionally, national level. It is therefore essential for the reputation of EASL as an internationally recognised organisation to maintain the high status of the guidelines and that the selection of CPG panel members is subject to independent review.
The Governing Board takes responsibility for the selection of chairs and members of the CPG panels and for the selection of CPG topics and timing of updates of existing CPGs. The CPGs are published by EASL rather than the CPG panelists in order to protect the contributors from any repercussions and to ensure that the guidelines are appropriately labelled as EASL's property rather than the name of the lead author. EASL has therefore created an independent committee to provide oversight on the selection of CPG panel members and in particular to evaluate the balance between commercial conflict of interest and the principal of 'no-conflict, no interest'. This overview should be managed in a pro-active manner whereby candidate panel members are reviewed prior to appointment.
The second function that the EASL Governing Board has conferred to its independent ethics committee is the need to have independent ethical opinion on the members of the Governing Board itself. It is a necessity to have an independent ethics committee acting in a responsive mode. For example, if an allegation is made by an EASL member, police or regulatory authority then it would be better for this to be assessed by an independent panel rather than the other members of the Governing Board.
The EEC will formally meet once a year at the International Liver Congress. Other business can be conducted by email and teleconference, and additional meetings can be arranged as appropriate on an ad-hoc basis. New members will be proposed by the Ethics Committee for approval at the Business Meeting held during the International Liver Congress every year in April.
The Ethics Committee consists of 5 members who are independent of the Governing Board members. One member is to be nominated and unanimously approved and elected by the Ethics Committee members and ratified at the Business Meeting at the International Liver Congress. He/she is to perform the role of the chair. Members will serve for a period of three years.
|EASL Ethics Committee Chairperson||Italy (Chair)||Prof. Dr Antonello Pietrangelo|
|EASL Ethics Committee Members||Spain||Prof. Rafael Bañares|
|UK||Prof. David Jones|
|France||Prof. Dominique-Charles Valla|
|Finland||Prof. Helena Isoniemi|
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