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The Future of BioethicsInternational Dialogues$
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Akira Akabayashi

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199682676

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199682676.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 24 October 2021

Primary Topic Article

Primary Topic Article

A Virtue Ethics Analysis of Disclosure Requirements and Financial Incentives as Responses to Conflicts of Interest in Physician Prescribing

(p.669) 19.1 Primary Topic Article
The Future of Bioethics

Justin Oakley

Oxford University Press

This article argues that virtue ethics provides a deeper and more compelling analysis of the ethical problems raised by conflicts of interest in physician prescribing than do other ethical perspectives. The author argues that disclosure requirements fail to address specifically medical vices, such as physician maleficence and betrayal, which are shown when physicians’ industry ties lead them to engage in harmful prescribing behaviour, or to redefine their therapeutic relationships with patients as business relationships. The author also evaluates proposals to use financial incentives for physicians to avoid biased prescribing, and indicates how such an analysis can also help the development of a virtue ethics model for regulatory interventions more generally. The author then highlights a moral cost to the use of financial incentives here that, while justifiable on utilitarian cost-effectiveness grounds, is a moral cost that on a virtue ethics approach to policy should not be paid in efforts to improve health outcomes.

Keywords:   Virtue ethics, conflicts of interest, medical virtues, medical vices, physician prescribing, disclosure requirements, financial incentives

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