Teaching Conflict: Professionalism and Medical Education
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Resistance by physicians, medical researchers, medical educators, and medical students to pharmaceutical industry influence in medicine is often based on the notion that physicians (guided by the ethics of their profession) and the industry (guided by profit) are in conflict. This criticism has taken the form of a professional movement opposing conflict of interest (COI) in medicine and medical education and has resulted in policies and guidelines that frame COI as the problem and outline measures to address this problem. In this paper, I offer a critique of this focus on COI that is grounded in a broader critique of neo-liberalism, arguing it individualizes the relationship between physicians and industry, too neatly delineates between the two entities, and reduces the network of social, economic, and political relations to this one dilemma.
KeywordsConflict of interest Pharmaceutical industry Medical education Professionalism Neo-liberalism
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