Ethical Transparency and Government Regulation of Canada's Medical Research Industry

By Poitras, Geoffrey; Meredith, Lindsay | Forum on Public Policy: A Journal of the Oxford Round Table, Spring 2008 | Go to article overview

Ethical Transparency and Government Regulation of Canada's Medical Research Industry


Poitras, Geoffrey, Meredith, Lindsay, Forum on Public Policy: A Journal of the Oxford Round Table


I. The Medicalization of Society

Medicalization is a social process where the medical profession extends its authority over matters not directly concerned with the analysis and treatment of biophysical disorders. In this definition, the medical profession includes not only practising doctors and associations of doctors but also: the pharmaceutical industry, providing the drugs that are an essential component of modern medicine; the academic institutions and journals involved in training doctors and sponsoring essential research activities; and, the government granting agencies and other sponsors that supply essential funding to the research conducted by the medical profession. (4) Significantly, because the source of capital for the pharmaceutical industry is the global financial markets, the primary motivations of this important player in the medical profession differ from those of the other players. The implications of this difference are the substance for a legion of studies on the marketing networks of the pharmaceutical companies and the sophisticated efforts involved in selling products. The differing motivations within the medical profession create an ethical dilemma for government regulators: how to balance public health concerns with the need to restrict the economic footprint of the regulatory framework on an industry that produces and distributes some of the most important products of modern science?

The concept of medicalization has a history going back, at least, to the 1950's when Thomas Szasz, Barbara Wootton and others attacked the advance of psychiatry beyond the treatment of well defined mental disorders into areas of dysfunctional behaviour related to crime and delinquency. (5) For Szasz and Wootton, 'science' was replacing traditional areas of social morality as the means distinguishing between the "undeniably mad" from those "who are simply unable to manage their lives". The distinction between 'mentally incompetent' and 'sinful' needs to be determined by social values. Allowing 'medical science' to encroach on this decision focuses attention on the individual instead of the environment as the source of the problem. As Wootton observes: "Always it is easier to put up a clinic than to pull down a slum." While insightful, the early contributions by Szasz and Wootton only examined the narrow confines of psychiatry where the social implications of medicalization are readily discernible. During the 1970's, the extension of these initial notions to a wider field of applications was initiated by Eliot Freidson and Irving Zola where the connection between medicalization and social control was established. (6)

See Table 1: Top 20 Pharma Products in Advertising (2005)

The identification of medicine as an institution of social control can be traced to Talcott Parsons. (7) As such, development of the connection between social control and medicalization was consistent with traditional sociology where social control is a central concept. The observation that medicine had "nudged aside" or "replaced" religion as the dominant moral force in the social control of modern societies was a central theme in medicalization research surveyed in the influential 1992 review by Peter Conrad ("Medicalization and Social Control"). The lack of cohesion in this research is reflected in the considerable effort Conrad dedicates to the search for a precise definition of 'medicalization'. (8) Driven by the remarkable evolution of the medical profession in the last two decades, it is becoming gradually apparent that the medicalization concept is too diverse to be analysed with a unifying methodology. (9) In particular, analytical advantage is gained if medicalization is dichotomized into two categories: social medicalization, dealing with the type of social control issues that originate with Szasz and Wootton; and, economic medicalization, dealing with the creation of markets for medical technology and professional services. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Ethical Transparency and Government Regulation of Canada's Medical Research Industry
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.