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Build bridges with the drugs industry—but keep patients in mind

BMJ 2009; 338 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.b439 (Published 04 February 2009) Cite this as: BMJ 2009;338:b439
  1. Ian Gilmore, president, Royal College of Physicians
  1. igilmore{at}dsl.pipex.com

    The preparation, prescribing, and dispensing of medicines have been intertwined with the practice of medicine for centuries and the close relationship between doctors and the pharmaceutical industry has been key to many therapeutic advances. However, the integrity and value of these close links have been criticised within and without the medical profession, most particularly in the past decade.1 2 3 We have to be concerned, for instance, by the findings of extensive investigations that suggest some parts of the industry, through sponsorship, wield a pernicious influence on the integrity of the published science base.4 Equally disquieting is the suggestion that many doctors are unduly affected by industry sales messages.

    Ongoing scrutiny of the industry’s role in health care and its relationship with the medical profession is necessary and healthy, but we should not lose sight of the shared commitment to sustainable and continuing improvements in patient care, which ultimately drives intersectoral collaboration and innovation. With this …

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