What is the Public Declaration of Interests?
The public declaration of interests (DPI) came into being with the inception of the health agencies (AFSSA and AFSSET) that subsequently merged to form ANSES.
The DPI refers to relationships of interest of any kind, direct or indirect, that the declarant has had with public or private organisations involved in the Agency’s field of competence or the collegial body of which they are a member. The disclosure requirements imposed by this declaration cover all interests, relationships or facts likely to give rise to a potential conflict of interest or incompatibility between the duties of the individual contributing to the expert assessment for the Agency and their outside activities.
The French Act No. 2011-2012 of 29 December 2011 on the strengthening of health protection with respect to medicinal and health products (in French) and its subordinate legislation (French Decree No. 2012-745 of 9 May 2012 on public declaration of interests and transparency with regard to public health and safety (in French) and the Ministerial Order of 5 July 2012 specifying standard public declaration of interest documents referred to in Article L. 1451-1 of the French Public Health Code (in French)) standardised the DPI in a single form that is binding on all health agencies and competent authorities in matters of public health.
Scope of the DPI
The DPI covers activities performed over the past five years related to:
- the scope of ANSES’s missions for its relevant officials, members of its Board of Administrators, its Scientific Board, and its Committee for Ethical Standards and the Prevention of Conflicts of Interest,
- the field of competence of the committee or working group concerned, for the members of its expert groups, and individuals invited to contribute their expertise without being members (expert rapporteurs on a given issue).
Who must complete a DPI?
Members of expert bodies, ANSES officials whose functions are directly related to expert assessment, and individuals invited to contribute their expertise to collegial bodies without being a member must complete a written public declaration of interests.
In accordance with Article L.1451-1 of the French Public Health Code (CSP), experts may only take part in the work, deliberations and voting of bodies in which they serve, once their DPI has been submitted to ANSES.
When is it necessary to complete a DPI?
All individuals listed above are required to submit a DPI in writing, at the time they take office.
The DPI is then updated, at the initiative of the person concerned, on the occasion of any event likely to give rise to changes in its content.
Main items in the DPI
- 1.Main activity
2.Secondary activities undertaken
- 2.1. Participation in governing bodies of another organisation
- 2.2. Business consultancy, advisory or expert activity
- 2.3. Participation in scientific research, testing, studies
- 2.4. Articles, conferences, seminars, training
- 2.5. Inventions, holding of a patent or intellectual property rights
- 3.Managerial activities funded by a for-profit organisation
- 4.Financial interest in the capital of a company
- 5.Close relatives (parents, spouse, children or stepchildren) that are employees and/or have a financial interest in an organisation in the relevant field
- 6.Other relationships of interest
Procedures for processing the DPIs
ANSES collects the declarations of relationships of interest from individuals contributing to expert appraisals. Anyone contributing expertise is subject to the principle of impartiality. They may not be involved with an issue in which they might have an indirect or direct private or personal interest to uphold, which would then be regarded as having a “conflict of interest”. It is therefore their responsibility to declare all their “relationships of interest” in their DPI and update it as necessary, from the time of their application for a role with the expert group until the end of their tenure with ANSES.
ANSES addresses conflicts of interest at two successive levels:
- During selection of expert group members, by reviewing the associations reported in the DPI in the field covered by the expert bodies. In these cases, a candidate will not be selected if the relationships of interest reported are likely to automatically give rise to a conflict of interest concerning the subjects addressed by the group;
- At each meeting of an expert group, by comparing the associations reported in each participant’s DPI with the issues on the agenda. In these cases, the participant(s) concerned will be excluded temporarily from discussions and decisions on the subject that poses a specific problem. In accordance with the terms of Article L.1451-1 of the CSP, this expert or these experts may not take part in any work, deliberations and voting of bodies in which they serve. Work conducted by an expert with a conflict of interest may be taken into account, under the terms established by the Agency, especially by means of a hearing, however, this expert may not participate in any phase of the examination of the issue.
ANSES conducts analyses of relationships of interest with respect to topics covered and thus institutes measures to ensure the principle of impartiality.
In order to ensure the transparency and traceability of decisions, and in accordance with Articles L.1451-1 and R.1451-2 of the CSP, DPIs submitted to ANSES are published on the Agency’s website, with the exception of specific details involving family relationships, sums of money collected and reported financial interests.