American Journal of Bioethics.

Shining Light on Conflicts of Interest

Chimonas, DeVito and Rothman offer a descriptive target article that examines physicians’ knowledge of and reaction to the Sunshine Act’s Open Payments Database. This program is a federal computer repository of all payments and goods with a worth over $10 made from pharmaceutical companies and device manufacturers to physicians. Created under the 2010 Affordable Care Act, the goal of this database is to make the relationships between physicians and the medical drug/device industry more transparent. Such transparency is often touted as a solution to financial conflicts of interest (COI). A COI occurs when a person owes featly to more than one party. For example, physicians have fiduciary duties toward patients. At the same time, when physicians receive gifts or benefits from a pharmaceutical company, they are more likely to prescribe that company’s products. The gift creates a sense of a moral obligation toward the company. These two interests can be (but may not be) in conflict. Such arrangements can undermine a patient’s trust with his/her physician, and more broadly, the public’s trust of medicine.

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Volume 17, Issue 6
June 2017

Target Articles.

When Respecting Autonomy Is Harmful: A Clinically Useful Approach to the Nocebo Effect John T. Fortunato, Jason Adam Wasserman & Daniel Londyn Menkes