Helping harvard medical school make the grade Paper

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Making a conclusion as to whether the pharmaceutical companies produce more good than harm to the medical schools can only be made after a careful analysis of the various practices and engagements that these enterprises have with the universities. According to Gagnon, the industry’s sponsorship of studies as well as other collaborations has both negative and positive outcomes (1624). A review of literature shows that there is a cause for concern since most of these studies report positive findings about the industry sponsored drugs. Most of the methodological qualities of some of the published studies are poor and this may be the cause of the positive results. Some of these companies also sponsor only those where a positive outcome will be likely (Gagnon 1625). Therefore, tension exists between the desire to carry out the study for marketing advantage and adhering to laid down scientific principles. This concern is real thus cannot be said that they result in more good than harm.

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The pharmaceutical companies are a source of valuable resource to medical research. They are the primary funding of most of these studies. Banning it would not be practical as it will deny the companies data about their products and even lead to claims about products being made with minimal scientific evidence. As such, the finding should be controlled through disclosure mechanisms where those engaging with the firms reveal the details of the undertakings. This way, constant revaluation of the monetary aspects of the collaborations can be done. Moreover, contractual agreement should be used for the benefit of the medical school and the industries. By protesting the Harvard conflict of interest policies, the student risked compromising the quality of education they receive. According to Morgan, Baker and Evans, such policies are intended to ensure that there a right balance is struck between ensuring the integrity of the institution and permitting the members of the faculty to improve health through discoveries and eventual introduction of new drugs (670). By opposing the policies, they were compromising the ability of the institution to ensure that biomedical research funded by the companies are done in the appropriate way without emphasis being put on marketing advantage and economic gains both for the firms and the individual professors and lecturers. Even without the state passing similar regulations, Harvard could still have been able to pass its policies. Educational institutions are authorized by state and federal laws to administer such policies.

Personally, I have not been in a class where the lecturers seemed to be giving biased information because of their work outside the university. However, should that occur, I believe it will be prudent enough to raise the concern so as to safeguard the quality of information given to the students. From the case, it is clear that dissent should be expressed through the right channels just the same way those who opposed the undertakings between the professors with the companies did by engaging the right authorities and administrators.

Works Cited

Gagnon, Jean-Pierre. “Sources of Bias in the Economic Analysis of New Drugs.” JAMA 283.11 (2000): 1423-25. Print.

Morgan, Steve, Baker, Morris and Evans Robert. “Health Economists Meet the Fourth Tempter: Drug Dependency and Scientific Discourse.” Health Economics 9. 4 (2010): 659-667. Print.

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