Advertising And Marketing Operations Of Pharmaceutical Companies

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For decades, the business dealings of pharmaceutical companies and physicians has been identified as a potential conflict of interest. Providers have an obligation to their patients, and society as a whole through their work. It is my belief that the majority of providers seek to do well by their patients and the majority of Americans agree (Benson, Blendon, & Hero, 2014, p. 1570). This good intention can be overwhelmed by deeply rooted human behavioral tendencies despite any tangible monetary value. Patients should reasonably expect that their providers are making medical decisions based upon sound medical knowledge and not advertising material. We will explore the role of a practitioner that gives rise to conflicts of interest and then…show more content…
In the business ethics world, social responsibility is generally self-imposed as a competitive mechanism and conflicts of interest are discussed within “Emerging Business Ethics Issues” in a recent and popular textbook on the subject by Ferrell, Ferrell & Fraedrich (2015). We will keep this in mind as we discuss the provider- pharmaceutical industry relationship. A relationship in which the physician is a public figure bearing social responsibility and the pharmaceutical company is a business that bears social responsibility in response to regulation.
In other words, the physician can experience a conflict of interest in placing personal gain over the responsibility to her patient (Friedman, 1992, p. 245). In the same instance, the pharmaceutical company would not experience the same conflict of interest per se when it is operating within business parameters to influence the physician’s choice to gain profit through marketing. The pharmaceutical company would be forgoing its fiduciary responsibility if it were not to engage in such practices when leveraged as a business entity. Especially if actions are classified as marketing expenses aimed at informing rather than influencing provider actions. What is personal gain in this conflict of interest? The debate over what constitutes a personal gain has continually been evaluated for decades. In 1967 Ruge described the
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