Intended for healthcare professionals

Observations Reality Check

The dos and don’ts of collaborating with industry

BMJ 2012; 344 doi: (Published 08 May 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;344:e3247
  1. Ray Moynihan, author, journalist, PhD student, and researcher
  1. 1Bond University, Queensland, Australia
  1. Ray.Moynihan{at}

Handy hints for getting the most out of relationships with drug companies

If you haven’t read the recent guidance on doctor-industry relationships, it’s certainly worth a look.1 Endorsed by leading professional groups, it argues that promising collaboration with industry “may be missed or even rejected” because of “misconceptions” arising from historical practices or rogue individuals. To set the record straight, the guidance emphasises the value of seeing sales representatives, the benefits of industry sponsored education, and the critical importance of health professionals serving on companies’ advisory boards.

To drive home its message, the guidance spells out some DOs and DON’Ts for doctors, and this is where it starts to sound just a tad defensive, not least because of the use of BOLD CAPITALS. First among the DOs is the instruction to treat industry as a partner and to get involved with company funded trials and education. The DON’Ts feel like the desperate pleas of a lover fearing that a long term affair may be on the rocks: “Don’t establish blanket policies denying interaction with industry,” and “Don’t be tempted …

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