Pharma Infiltrates Harvard's Ivory Tower

Med school is in ethics crisis, say some students and profs
By Gabriel Winant,  Newser User
Posted Mar 3, 2009 10:11 AM CST
A collection of pharmaceuticals.   (©futurestreet)
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(Newser) – The tentacles of big pharma have made their way into the upper echelons of academia, the New York Times reports: Harvard Medical School is packed with professors with industry ties, and that has students concerned. With 149 profs connected to Pfizer and 130 to Merck, fears that the influence of industry money—Harvard recently received an “F” grade from a watchdog group—will slant teaching and research have prompted a movement for ethics reform.

“We are really being indoctrinated into a field of medicine that is becoming more and more commercialized,” says a student involved in the effort. But not everybody is embarrassed. Some professors say the school is just fine, or even under-exploiting opportunities. “There’s a huge opportunity we ought to mine,” says one.