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Healthy Skepticism Library item: 10784

Warning: This library includes all items relevant to health product marketing that we are aware of regardless of quality. Often we do not agree with all or part of the contents.

 

Publication type: Journal Article

Rogers , W.a.
The tangled web of medical and commercial interests
Health Expectations 2007 Mar; 10:(1):1-3


Abstract:

Drugs and therapeutic devices are an essential part of good health care. The use of pharmaceutical agents has transformed the treatment of many conditions such as cardiovascular and infectious diseases. The nature of health care allows for a wide range of potential interactions between doctors and representatives of commercial interests. The putative advantages of relationships with medical industries include new product information and training, free samples, funding for conferences, support for professional and social activities, opportunities to meet with peers, and the provision of congenial surroundings – supplying the ‘feel good’ element that may be otherwise missing in a busy professional life. We should however also be attentive to the less tangible costs of cosy relationships between commercial interests and medicine. The first of these is potential damage to the doctor-patient relationship via an assault on the ethical principle of beneficence, or acting in the patient’s best interests. A second harm concerns the moral character of doctors. There are a number of virtues that are traditionally ascribed to doctors. Finally, there may be loss of public trust in the medical profession to act as an advocate for patients rather than for themselves or industry.


Notes:

Editorial

 

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As an advertising man, I can assure you that advertising which does not work does not continue to run. If experience did not show beyond doubt that the great majority of doctors are splendidly responsive to current [prescription drug] advertising, new techniques would be devised in short order. And if, indeed, candor, accuracy, scientific completeness, and a permanent ban on cartoons came to be essential for the successful promotion of [prescription] drugs, advertising would have no choice but to comply.
- Pierre R. Garai (advertising executive) 1963