Major article on academic medical centers and pharma

This links to a major article by Marcia Angell, former editor of the Journal of the American Medical Association and fierce critic of current pharmaceutical industry practices. I encourage you to follow the link, and print the entire article. It will likely provide you with a broader understanding of the depth and variety of problems that currently plaque relations between pharma and academic medical centers.

When you follow the link, please note that in the same issue of the Boston Review are other articles of importance to those interested in the pharmaceutical industry and medical academia.

from the Boston Review

…The boundaries between academic medicine—medical schools, teaching hospitals, and their faculty—and the pharmaceutical industry have been dissolving since the 1980s, and the important differences between their missions are becoming blurred. Medical research, education, and clinical practice have suffered as a result.

Academic medical centers are charged with educating the next generation of doctors, conducting scientifically important research, and taking care of the sickest and neediest patients. That’s what justifies their tax-exempt status. In contrast, drug companies—like other investor-owned businesses—are charged with increasing the value of their shareholders’ stock. That is their fiduciary responsibility, and they would be remiss if they didn’t uphold it. All their other activities are means to that end. The companies are supposed to develop profitable drugs, not necessarily important or innovative ones, and paradoxically enough, the most profitable drugs are the least innovative. Nor do drug companies aim to educate doctors, except as a means to the primary end of selling drugs. Drug companies don’t have education budgets; they have marketing budgets from which their ostensibly educational activities are funded.

This profound difference in missions is often deliberately obscured—by drug companies because it’s good public relations to portray themselves as research and educational institutions, and by academics because it means they don’t have to face up to what’s really going on….

much much more via Marcia Angell in The Boston Review

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