Dr. Weiskopf's letter raises important issues about disclosure and transparency that have received much attention from the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) in recent years.1We have developed, refined, and implemented a Conflict of Interest policy aimed at informing all those acting in an official capacity for ASA of real or potential conflicts:

A member of the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) shall not serve as an officer, director, alternate director, committee member, representative to another organization or in another appointed position if that service would involve a conflict, real or apparent, with any other relationship or arrangement, financial or otherwise, participated in by the member or the member's family. ASA requires each member nominated to serve, as indicated above, to disclose his or her affiliations and execute this statement. 

Disclosure of a member's affiliations is intended to assist ASA in resolving conflicts of interest. An affiliation with another organization does not necessarily mean that a conflict of interest exists or that the affiliation would unduly influence the member in his or her nominated position. 

A listing of affiliations will be distributed or made available to all respective members of the Board, committee, task force or other relevant body to which the member is appointed or elected. *

No member is eligible for appointment to a position within ASA without providing this information, including speakers and planners involved in ASA continuing education activities. In the current year, more than 1,300 members have done so. All members of our governing bodies and committees have been provided access to a database of their peers' disclosures and encouraged to familiarize themselves with its contents. Committee chairs are held responsible for informing their committees of potential conflicts and managing them during committee deliberations. Depending on the circumstances, conflicts may result in a member abstaining from debate or vote or being excluded from a project altogether. At a minimum, all collaborators are aware of potential conflicts.

To date, the development of all ASA practice parameters, guidelines, and advisories have been funded exclusively by ASA, an expenditure on behalf of our members typically in excess of $500,000 annually.

We consider these efforts fundamental to ensuring the quality of our work and the confidence of members and the public in it.

President, American Society of Anesthesiologists, Newton-Wellesley Hospital, Department of Anesthesiology, Newton, Massachusetts. ahannenberg@partners.org

Berry AJ: Competing allegiances equals a conflict of interest. ASA Newsletter 2010; 74(5):6–7