An accounting of contracts awarded by the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) shows $1.1 million - more than two-thirds of the $1.6 million total - has gone to institutions that have representation on PCORI's board or its methodology committee. Applications are scored by teams composed of PCORI board members and members of the methodology committee. The committee makes final recommendations on funding decisions. In an email, a PCORI spokesperson told BioCentury that board and committee members were recused if they had a conflict of interest, "such as working at the same institution as or having a professional or personal relationship with an applicant." The spokesperson, who did not wish to be named, said PCORI plans to put new conflict of interest policies in place before funding decisions are made for primary research contracts this month. The COI standards will be "more stringent than what is required by statute."The law requires conflicts of interest to be disclosed to the Government Accountability Office (GAO) and on PCORI's website whenever members are appointed to expert panels, contribute to any peer-review process or are employed as executive staff.

PCORI was established by the Patient Protection and