Overregulation of conflicts hinders medical progress
Thomas P. Stossel, MD
Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA
Correspondence: Thomas P. Stossel, MD, Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, 1 Blackfan Circle, Karp 6, Boston, MA 02115; firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr. Stossel reported that he has ownership interests in ZymeQuest, Inc., and in Critical Biologics Corp.; has intellectual property rights in Critical Biologics Corp.; has received consulting/advisory fees from Merck, Inc.; has received honoraria from Pfizer, Inc.; and has received royalties from Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.
The revolution in medicine and technology over the past few decades is largely the result of partnerships—or a "harmony of interests"—between private companies and entrepreneurial scientists and clinicians. Regulations to prevent conflicts of interest by restricting medical education, medical research, expert advisory functions, or researcher ownership of inventions may have the unintended consequence of slowing medical progress.