Professional medical organizations and commercial confl icts of interest: Ethical issues

Howard Brody

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) has recently been criticized for accepting a large corporate donation from Coca-Cola to fund patient education on obesity prevention. Conflicts of interest, whether individual or organizational, occur when one enters into arrangements that reasonably tempt one to put aside one's primary obligations in favor of secondary interests, such as f nan-cial self-interest. Accepting funds from commercial sources that seek to inf uence physician organizational behavior in a direction that could run counter to the public health represents one of those circumstances and so constitutes a conf ict of interest. Most of the defenses offered by AAFP are rationalizations rather than ethical counterarguments. Medical organizations, as the public face of medicine and as formulator of codes of ethics for their physician members, have special obligations to adhere to high ethical standards.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)354-358
Number of pages5
JournalAnnals of family medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Bioethics
  • Conflict of interest
  • Public health
  • Societies

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Family Practice


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