Thursday, October 28, 2010

Pharma Ethics: It’s Time for Constructive Ideas

The criticism of pharma continues. One of the latest salvos: “White Coat, Black Hat: Adventures on the Dark Side of Medicine,” by Carl Elliott, MD, professor at the Center for Bioethics at the University of Minnesota. In an interview with Pharmalot, Dr. Elliott spoke about industry ethics, and said that industry money has undermined trust. “The difficulty with the way things are done now is that you don’t know if you can believe what’s in the medical literature anymore,” he said.

His views on transparency: “I don’t think disclosure solves the problem. That seems to be the approach and I think it’s totally misguided. The more doctors who do it and the more widely known people know about it, the more widely it will be done and the practice will become normalized and nobody will feel any compunction about taking money from industry anymore.”

I think Dr. Elliott is right -- maybe time can correct some of these problems. Maybe some of the recently implemented regulations and the court proceedings will change poor behavior. 

But, friends, the criticism leveled at industry hasn’t been exactly constructive. What's needed are suggested solutions. We still do not have answers, we need operational leadership on where to go from here. We continue to suggest that we all move beyond the "industry/HCP relationship is dirty."  We suggest that you cannot highlight a problem unless you also offer a solution going forward.

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