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Widening the debate about conflict of interest: addressing relationships between journalists and the pharmaceutical industry
  1. Wendy Lipworth1,
  2. Ian Kerridge2,
  3. Melissa Sweet3,
  4. Christopher Jordens2,
  5. Catriona Bonfiglioli4,
  6. Rowena Forsyth2
  1. 1Australian Institute of Health Innovation, University of New South Wales, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
  2. 2Centre for Values, Ethics and the Law in Medicine, University of Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
  3. 3Freelance journalist, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
  4. 4Journalism, Information & Media Studies, University of Technology, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Dr Wendy Lipworth, AGSM Building, University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW 2052, Australia; w.lipworth{at}

The phone-hacking scandal that led to the closure of the News of the World newspaper in Britain has prompted international debate about media practices and regulation. It is timely to broaden the discussion about journalistic ethics and conduct to include consideration of the impact of media practices upon the population's health. Many commercial organisations cultivate relationships with journalists and news organisations with the aim of influencing the content of health-related news and information communicated through the media. Given the significant influence of the media on the health of individuals and populations, we should be alert to the potential impact of industry–journalist relationships on health care, health policy and public health. The approach taken by the medical profession to its interactions with the pharmaceutical industry provides a useful model for management of industry influence.

  • Journalism
  • mass media
  • pharmaceutical industry
  • conflict of interest
  • ethics
  • media regulation
  • applied and professional ethics
  • drugs and drug industry
  • philosophy of medicine
  • professional—professional relationship
  • genethics
  • sociology

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  • Funding Empirical research related to this article has been funded by a National Health and Medical Research Council (NH&MRC) Project Grant (632840). The NH&MRC played no role in the writing of this article.

  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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