Intended for healthcare professionals


Relationships with the drug industry: Keep at arm’s length

BMJ 2009; 338 doi: (Published 04 February 2009) Cite this as: BMJ 2009;338:b222
  1. Marcia Angell, senior lecturer in social medicine
  1. 1Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115
  1. marcia_angell{at}

    The relationship between the drug industry, academia, healthcare professionals, and patients has reached an all time low and few doubt that it is in the interests of all parties to improve it. A recent report from the Royal College of Physicians attempts to define a path towards achieving a more productive relationship. Here we set out five contrasting views on what the ideal relationship between industry and prescribers and patients should be and what steps need to be taken to achieve it (doi:10.1136/bmj.b211, doi:10.1136/bmj.b232, doi:10.1136/bmj.b252, doi:10.1136/bmj.b252)

    I believe there should be no relationship between the drug industry and either prescribers or patients. Drug companies are investor owned businesses with a responsibility to maximise profits for their shareholders. That is quite different from the mission of the medical profession, which is to provide the best …

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