John Stossel: Healthy profits?
For years, my brother annoyed me by not embracing the libertarianism that changed my life. It bored him. He was comfortable in his Harvard cocoon.
Lately, the anti-capitalists have become obsessed with “conflict of interest” in science — any trace of corporate money must poison honest medical research.
“People cheat for money,” replied Tom. “But evidence that collaborations compromise clinical integrity and patient care is practically nonexistent. A voluminous 2009 Institute of Medicine report on ’Conflict of Interest in Medical Research’ was unable to find evidence of a negative effect on patient outcomes.”
That probably wouldn’t happen today, says Tom, because now the stock options the Nobel winner got are forbidden at research institutions like Harvard.
Market competition. Other scientists will try to replicate dramatic findings and debunk false claims and sloppy scientists. Companies worry about scandal, lawsuits, the FDA and recalls. They can’t get rich unless their reputation is good.
“The Sunshine Act is a boondoggle for accountants, compliance bureaucrats and the legions of lawyers whom companies will hire to manage the regulations,” says Tom. “These parasites will muddle through endless complexities, such as which entity of a global company actually pays physicians and must report the payments. There will be the questions of how to identify which physicians are being paid for what, such as how to account for $25 worth of bagels brought into a group practice office when it’s unclear who actually ate the bagels.”
John Stossel is host of “Stossel” on the Fox Business Network. He’s the author of “No They Can’t: Why Government Fails, but Individuals Succeed.”
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