[Conflicts of interest in clinical practice. Ethical analysis of some relationships with the pharmaceutical industry].
Rev Med Chil. 2006 Dec ;134(12):1576-82. Epub 2007 Jan 24. PMID: 17277877
Sofía P Salas
Sometimes, the prescription practice of physicians can be influenced by factors that are not related to scientific evidence due to the appearance of several conflicts of interest. These conflicts cause social concern and have prompted actions to regulate the ethics of individual and corporative activities related to healthcare. We analyzed the ethical problems involved in the physician-industry relationship. For this purpose, we considered as the main actors related to this problem, the pharmaceutical industry and their marketing strategies, medical doctors and the independence and objectivity that should guide prescriptions and, finally, patients and their right to receive prescriptions based on scientific evidence. From the point of view of the Bioethics principles, Beneficence would not be respected when gifts or other donations received from the industry affect doctor's independence. Non Maleficence principle could be jeopardized if there is an increased risk of treatment failure and finally Justice could be altered if there is a cost increase for either patients or health institutions. As a conclusion, we consider that the presence of conflicts of interest in the relationship of physicians with the pharmaceutical industry is an important ethical problem. In consequence, this group endorses the recommendations of the Chilean Association of Medical Scientific Societies and advices to include ethical guidelines on this topic in the curriculum of medical schools.