Send to

Choose Destination
Ann Fam Med. 2010 Jul-Aug;8(4):354-8. doi: 10.1370/afm.1140.

Professional medical organizations and commercial conflicts of interest: ethical issues.

Author information

Institute for the Medical Humanities and Department of Family Medicine, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, Texas 77555-1311, USA.


The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) has recently been criticized for accepting a large corporate donation from Coca-Cola to fund patient education on obesity prevention. Conflicts of interest, whether individual or organizational, occur when one enters into arrangements that reasonably tempt one to put aside one's primary obligations in favor of secondary interests, such as financial self-interest. Accepting funds from commercial sources that seek to influence physician organizational behavior in a direction that could run counter to the public health represents one of those circumstances and so constitutes a conflict of interest. Most of the defenses offered by AAFP are rationalizations rather than ethical counterarguments. Medical organizations, as the public face of medicine and as formulator of codes of ethics for their physician members, have special obligations to adhere to high ethical standards.

Comment in

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for HighWire Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center