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Perspect Biol Med. 2007 Winter;50(1):54-71.

Regulation of financial conflicts of interest in medical practice and medical research: a damaging solution in search of a problem.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, MA 02115, USA.


The free market, which includes most practicing physicians, publicly supported biomedical researchers, and private drug and device companies, has succeeded spectacularly in delivering new medical technologies to the public. Increased interactions between doctors (physicians and biomedical researchers), epitomized by the founding of the biotechnology revolution, have and can continue to accelerate this delivery. A powerful anti-commercial advocacy movement that has blossomed over the past 20 years threatens this momentum. This movement has succeeded in inverting reality by demonizing the market and by promoting distorted and damaging views of professionalism and of science. Most ominously, it has imposed onerous and counterproductive regulations on medical education and translational research.

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