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The Challenges of Ethics Consulting in the Biotechnology Industry: Codes of Ethics

Main | Consulting Surveys | Survey Responses | Bibliography | Codes of Ethics

Codes of Ethics* Resources for Biotechnology Industry Ethics Consultation+

(*For the purposes of this study, “codes of ethics” refers to any statement of ethical guidance, regardless of the format.)

+The content and design of this section owes much to the research and creative insights of James R. Howard, MBE, who at the time of his work on this project was a graduate student in bioethics at the University of Pennsylvania.

I. Purpose
II. Methodology
III. Codes of Ethics
IV. Categories of Information
V. Code Language Related to Consulting
VI. Web-based code resources

I. Purpose

  1. To compile a list of codes of ethics for fields and disciplines that could offer guidance relevant to the activity of ethics consultation for the biotechnology industry
  2. To extract and categorize the general types of information that these codes prescribe, relevant to ethics consultation for bioindustry
  3. To present examples of how particular codes guide consulting relationships
  4. To provide links to code development resources and code databases on the Web.

II. Methodology

A. The search and selection of relevant codes of ethics

Using the internet search engine Google, as well as several databases of codes of ethics on the Web –Illinois Institute of Technology, the Institute of Business Ethics, and Online Business– forty relevant codes of ethics were identified for inclusion in our study. Codes were selected based on their relevance to ethics consultation for bioindustry, with four main nodes of pertinence considered:

  1. Functional purpose of the group/association/ membership – i.e., consulting
  2. Subject matter of home occupation/field of the membership – i.e., academics, sociology, anthropology, medicine, technology
  3. Type of work performed – i.e. research, investigation
  4. Responsibilities to relevant parties – public, science, field

B. Categorization of Information

Categories were developed based on two main factors:

1. Categories that already exist in current codes and published literature covering the development of codes of ethics.

Codes of ethics are organized according to certain themes. Furthermore, literature on the development of codes of ethics teaches toward code organization in terms of particular themes. The common themes as they exist in these codes and literature were considered in organizing the categories in this resource.

2. Distinctions between various elements and responsibilities in consulting relationships, distinguished according to functional concept as well as according to the timeline of a consulting relationship.

For example, confidentiality and compensation are two important and distinct conceptual elements of a consulting relationship. Furthermore, considerations of advertising and initiation of consulting relationships take place before or at the outset of consulting agreements, transparency considers activities throughout a relationship, deliverables relates to activity at the conclusion of a relationship.

Elements of the selected codes identified by this process were then sorted into the different categories.

III. Codes of Ethics Relevant to Bioindustry Ethics Consultation

A. Consulting Associations

Canadian Institute of Management Consultants (CIMC)

Canadian Telecommunications Consultants Association (CTCA)

Clinical Consultation Services

Institute of Management Consultants (IMC) (division of Council for Consulting Organizations)

Association of Management Consulting Firms (AMCF)

B. Consulting Companies


Goldman Sachs

Princeton Consultants
- Association of Management Consulting Firms

THG Consulting Partners
-Institute of Management Consultants

Vrins Inc – Council of Consulting Organizations

Strategic Growth Consultants
-Institute of Management Consultants

Canadian Association of Management Consultants (CAMC)

National Association of Healthcare Consultants (NAHC)

Professional and Technical Consultants Association

Rochester Professional Consultants Network

C. Fields/ Associations/ Academies

Academe General

American Association of University Professors (AAUP)

Medicine/Physical Sciences

American Council of Engineering Companies

National Society of Genetic Counselors (NSGC)

American College of Ethical Physicians

American College of Physicians (ACP)

American Academy of Pharmaceutical Physicians

American Nursing Association (ANA)

Association of Clinical Research Professionals (ACRP)

American Medical Association (AMA)

Australian Medical Association$file/090304%20Code%20of%20Ethics%202004%20(final,%20March%202004).pdf

American Academy of Neurology (AAN)

Social Sciences/ Law

The International Organization Development Code of Ethics

The American Sociological Association (ASA)

The International Sociological Association (ISA)

American Anthropological Association (AAA)

American Bar Association (ABA)

Regulatory Affairs Professional Society (RAPS)

American Philosophical Association (statements/guidelines) (APA)

Society of Professional Journalism (SPJ)

Management/ Business

The Academy Of Management

American Association of Finance and Accounting (AAFA)

American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE)

Society of Corporate Compliance and Ethics

International Business Ethics Institute

Ethics Officer Association (EOA)

IV. Categories


The protocol for processes at origination of consulting relationship.
Solicitation and advertisement of consultation services.

Transparency and Communication

Clear understanding of purposes and scope of work
Clarity of the terms of the consulting contract
Processes of information sharing
Levels of access
Continuity of communication
Dispute resolution


The treatment and management of proprietary information
Contract clauses– restrictive covenants, publish with permission
Respect of intellectual property


Incorruptibility of consultant
Right to withdrawal from relationship
Effects of relationship on consultant, and consultant’s primary field
Fulfillment of obligations and responsibilities to contractual and non-contractual parties (self, client, public, profession, discipline, students, colleagues)
Management of conflicts of interest
Professional Competence


Rates of pay
Terms of payment
Conflicting Fees

Deliverables and Public Disclosure

Delivery of products, reports, advice
Consultant’s expectations of clients
Influencing clients’ proper use of products
Disclosure of relationship to public, employers

V. Code Language Related to Consulting

To view the spreadsheet listed by category click here.

To view the spreadsheet listed by source click here.

To view the spreadsheet listed by source type click here.

VI. Web-based Code Resources

Links to web-based code of ethics resources, including information on: the purposes for having a code of ethics; how to write a code of ethics; bibliographies of available articles in print on the topic of codes of ethics; and web-based databases of codes of ethics.

Illinois Institute of Technology

Institute of Business Ethics

Chris Macdonald

Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development

Biological Weapons and Codes of Conduct