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Medical Experts: Financial ties to Pharmaceutical Industry

A survey conducted by Tufts University researchers and published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (2/02) queried medical experts who write guidelines for treating conditions like heart disease, depression and diabetes. The research found that nearly 9 out of 10 experts have financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry, and the ties are almost never disclosed.

Is this just a way for medical researchers to supplement bare-bones salaries?
Or does it place them in the pocket of the pharmaceutical industry?
What are the ethical problems with this?
After all, if we require that researchers sever all financial ties, the field would be even less attractive than it is now. But, researchers may be unwilling or unable to bite the hand that feeds them. What do you think?

Solution Preview

1. A survey conducted by Tufts University researchers and published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (2/02) queried medical experts who write guidelines for treating conditions like heart disease, depression and diabetes. The research found that nearly 9 out of 10 experts have financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry, and the ties are almost never disclosed. Is this just a way for medical researchers to supplement bare-bones salaries? Or does it place them in the pocket of the pharmaceutical industry?

One must ask why the ties are almost never disclosed; why hide the truth? This is an ethical issue, as it lacks honesty.

Although it might be a way for medical researchers to supplement salaries, however, it could also place them in the pocket of the pharmaceutical industry since they have financial ties. To add to this, the pharmaceutical industry often funds medical research, which will often only publish research that profits them. This would mean that the researchers would be expected to write guidelines for heart ...

Solution Summary

In reference to the research that found nearly 9 out of 10 experts have financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry, and the ties are almost never disclosed, this solution addresses the questions on the ethics of this situation e.g. is this just a way for medical researchers to supplement bare-bones salaries, etc.

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