The Mission of the Ethics Committee of the International Headache Society is to identify, interpret, and manage current challenging ethical issues pertaining to headache medicine at three levels:
1. Headache sufferers
- To promote the welfare of headache sufferers by publishing advice, guidance and recommendations on ethical issues relevant to research, practice and treatment of headache disorders
2. Headache treatment and research organisations
- To draft statements which will bring the relevant ethical concerns in the field of headache medicine to the attention of governments, the medical and allied professions, the pharmaceutical and insurance industries, lay and charitable organisations and any other relevant parties
3. IHS membership and organisation activities
- To address ethical concerns of International Headache Society members regarding IHS activities
- To initiate reviews of IHS activities that raise ethical concerns that are referred to or identified by IHS Ethics Committee
- Anne MacGregor (UK)
- Mario Peres (Brazil)
- Norihiro Suzuki (Japan)
- Cristina Tassorelli (Italy)
- Gisela Terwindt (Netherlands)
Activities and News
The Ethics Committee has developed several policies, approved by the IHS Board of Trustees to guide our organisational activities in a transparent way.
Conflict of Interest Policy
Conflict of Interest (CoI) is unavoidable but can be minimised and managed to avoid unprofessional behaviour (e.g. biased presentations, promotion of commercial products, withholding of information).
The best approaches for IHS meetings and congresses include prohibiting industry from controlling the content of educational sessions and data presentations, and clear and specific disclosure of CoI by each speaker and meeting planner.
A responsible and productive alliance with pharmaceutical and other medical technology companies is both possible and sometimes desirable in pursuit of IHS’ goals. However there are a number of areas in which conflicts of interest, or the perception of such conflicts may arise. These areas generally involve the potential for bias in our policies, educational programmes, and research. In order to minimise potential CoI the Conflict of Interest Policy was developed.
International Headache Congress
It is essential the International Headache Congress (IHC) remains free of bias and control from industry.
There are levels of presentations at IHCs:
- Investigator-initiated research
- Industry-sponsored research
- Industry symposia (Industry satellites).
In 2019 the Committee developed recommendations for IHC sessions and presentations:
- Speakers should have only one presentation in the main congress programme; they may also be involved in a teaching course
- IHC programme faculty can only speak in and/or chair one industry satellite symposium, for one company only
- Speakers should use a standard disclosure slide template for their presentation.
An Ethics course is planned for IHC 2021.
The Ethics Committee has published two reports: Ethical issues arising from commercial sponsorship and from relationships with the pharmaceutical industry—Report and Recommendations of the Ethics Subcommittee of the International Headache Society, 2008, and Ethical Issues in Headache Research and Management, 1998.