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Bioethics Consultation and Patient Advocacy Organizations: Expanding the Dialogue about Professional Conflicts of Interest

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  06 December 2006

MARK YARBOROUGH
Affiliation:
Center for Bioethics and Humanities, University of Colorado at Denver and Health Sciences Center, Denver, Colorado
RICHARD R. SHARP
Affiliation:
Center for Medical Ethics and Health Policy at the Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas

Extract

Although bioethics consultation has always drawn the ire of critics, its extension into areas such as paid consultation with private industry has raised new concerns. Critics of consulting relationships with industry question the sincerity of for-profit corporations who seek ethical advice, alleging that a desire for improved public relations is a primary motivation of these corporations. They also question whether compensation for ethical advice creates insuperable conflicts of interest that bias the work produced. The decision of two influential professional societies to establish a joint task force to examine bioethics consultation with industry reflects the seriousness of these and other concerns about this practice. The report of this task force, although controversial, has stimulated broad discussion about the ethical commitments of bioethicists and highlighted the need for clearer professional standards of conduct.The authors thank John Walsh, President and CEO of the Alpha-1 Foundation, for his thoughtful comments on an earlier draft. The contents are solely the responsibility of the authors.

Type
SPECIAL SECTION: OPEN FORUM
Copyright
© 2007 Cambridge University Press

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