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Researchers who are paid to enrol patients in studies with a not-so-favourable risk–benefit ratio, pharmaceutical companies holding back with data that give rise to concern about patient safety, institutions that provide advanced clinical care to underinsured patients only if they agree to enrol in a trial—conflicts of interest in the medical field have become the subject of increasing scrutiny, leading to codes of conduct as well as to the establishment of processes and rules for the resolution of such conflicts. Bioethics has happily contributed to these developments.
The growing attention to conflicts of interest is to be welcomed indeed. Not only because it helps spell out concrete moral issues that might go undetected by a four-principle analysis of patient–physician encounters but also because it shifts the focus …
Competing interests: None.
Provenance and peer review: Not commissioned; not externally peer reviewed