Academic journal article The Hastings Center Report

How Drugs Get to the Market

Academic journal article The Hastings Center Report

How Drugs Get to the Market

Article excerpt

Several contributions to this issue of the Report address a corollary of the question that Sheldon Krimsky takes as the subtitle of his recent book Science in the Public Interest: Has the Lure of Profits Corrupted Biomedical Research? The corollary question, addressed here by four essays and a book review, is whether the lure of profits has corrupted the public discussion of biomedical research? Trudo Lemmens launches the discussion with an essay about pharmaceutical companies' selective suppression of clinical trial data--a topic that has also received general media attention. Carl Elliott examines the industry's influence over what gets published in medical journals and taught in continuing medical education courses. Greg Koski asks whether the federal institutions that oversee pharmaceutical research are too closely linked to the industry. Ray DeVries and Charles Bosk consider how best to manage another kind of oversight role--that taken by bioethicists who provide consultations to pharmaceutical companies. Also, in the book review section, the Center's Josephine Johnston contributes an essay on Krimsky's book.

Readers sympathetic to the industry may object that the set lacks journalistic balance. To be sure, the essays are not uniformly hostile to the industry: Koski argues that the best hope for reform comes from within the industry itself,, and DeVries and Bosk propose that bioethicists can continue to consult for the industry--and get paid for their work as long as the payment mechanisms do not constrain the consultants' discussions and writings. …

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