Time to 'walk the walk' about industry ties to enhance health

Journal name:
Nature Medicine
Year published:
Published online


Overwhelming evidence that relationships between universities, physicians and the medical products industry benefit patients explains the ubiquitous calls to encourage such relationships. Yet accumulating 'conflict of interest' regulations in academic health centers, government and industry have had the opposite effect. Justifications underlying the regulations lack quantitative rigor, and the rules they enforce impose costly bureaucratic requirements of dubious benefit. Evidence shows that they have diminished the collaborations deemed beneficial to health enhancement.


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Author information


  1. Thomas P. Stossel is in the Department of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.

  2. Lance K. Stell is in the Department of Philosophy, Davidson College, Davidson, North Carolina, USA.

Competing financial interests

T.P.S. is a founding scientist, director and consultant to Bioaegis Therapeutics, a startup biotechnology company developing intellectual property licensed by his employer, Brigham and Women's Hospital, based on his research. He is also a director of Velico Medical Corporation, to which Brigham and Women's Hospital has also licensed intellectual property based on his research. He serves on a Merck, Sharp and Dohme advisory board.

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