Conflicts of Interest: Relationship between Japanese Physicians and the Pharmaceutical Industry
The author presents in this commentary an overview of the rules governing pharmaceutical industry–physician relationships in Japan, and argues for a virtue ethics approach in assessing this relationship. In Japan, conflicts of interest in clinical practice have attracted less attention compared to those in medical research. This issue has been extensively discussed among policymakers and academic institutions, leading to the introduction of information disclosure as a mechanism to deal with conflicts of interest. While this disclosure mechanism will now be applied to clinical practice in Japan, a number of problems may arise. A virtue ethics approach is a useful remedy for Japanese physicians and policymakers.
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