Conclusion

It would be unrealistic to expect modern capital-intensive scientific research to thrive entirely without the support and influence of commercial interests and incentives. Similarly, it would be unwise and impractical to suggest that scientists who maintain commercial connections, and therefore have potential conflicts of interest, should disqualify themselves from all advisory duties. The trend toward adoption of explicit and stringent conflict of interest policies suggests a growing consensus that individuals, institutions, and professional groups have all been too tolerant in the past of ethically questionable but lucrative practices. It remains to be seen how effective these new policies will prove in policing the problem. The U.S. public, moreover, may be forced to reexamine the wisdom of allowing so great a percentage of the total research endeavor to be governed by private commercial interests.

KENNETH ALLEN DE VILLE (1 995) REVISED BY HOWARD BRODY

SEE ALSO: Conflict of Interest; Corporate Compliance; Pharmaceutical Industry; Private Ownership of Inventions; Profit and Commercialism

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