Closed Financial Loops: When They Happen in Government, They're Called Corruption; in Medicine, They're Just a Footnote

Kevin De Jesus-Morales, Vinay Prasad

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Many physicians are involved in relationships that create tension between a physician's duty to work in her patients’ best interest at all times and her financial arrangement with a third party, most often a pharmaceutical manufacturer, whose primary goal is maximizing sales or profit. Despite the prevalence of this threat, in the United States and globally, the most common reaction to conflicts of interest in medicine is timid acceptance. There are few calls for conflicts of interest to be banned, and, to our knowledge, no one calls for conflicted practitioners to be reprimanded. Contrast our attitudes in medicine with public attitudes toward financial conflicts among government employees. When enforcement of rules against conflict of interest slackens in the public sector, news organizations investigate and publish their criticism. Yet even when doctors are quoted in the media promoting specific drugs, their personal financial ties to the drug maker are rarely mentioned. Policies for governmental employees are strict, condemnation is strong, and criminal statutes exist (allowing for corruption charges). Yet the evidence that conflict is problematic is, if anything, stronger in medicine than in the public sector. Policies against conflicts of interest in medicine should be at least as strong as those already existing in the public sector.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9-14
Number of pages6
JournalHastings Center Report
Volume47
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1 2017

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Conflict of Interest
conflict of interest
corruption
Public Sector
Medicine
medicine
public sector
physician
employee
Pharmaceutical Preparations
drug
Physicians
pharmaceutical
statute
sales
profit
news
criticism
acceptance
Organizations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Issues, ethics and legal aspects
  • Medicine(all)
  • Philosophy
  • Health Policy

Cite this

Closed Financial Loops : When They Happen in Government, They're Called Corruption; in Medicine, They're Just a Footnote. / De Jesus-Morales, Kevin; Prasad, Vinay.

In: Hastings Center Report, Vol. 47, No. 3, 01.05.2017, p. 9-14.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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