The scientific process doesn't work through activists swooping in and pretending to be the guardians of careful research. As Tom writes in a forthcoming book, "Science's credibility derives from its delivery of durable discoveries." Similarly, sustained profits require products that actually work.
Currently, the conflict of interest zealots have won the debate. Obamacare regulators are implementing the Sunshine Act. Who wins from the new regulation?
"The Sunshine Act is a boondoggle for accountants, compliance bureaucrats and the legions of lawyers whom companies will hire to manage the regulations," says Tom. "These parasites will muddle through endless complexities, such as which entity of a global company actually pays physicians and must report the payments. There will be the questions of how to identify which physicians are being paid for what, such as how to account for $25 worth of bagels brought into a group practice office when it's unclear who actually ate the bagels."
Who loses? Patients. Few have the competence to interpret the disclosures, and because of the new rules, they'll have fewer new drugs. Hundreds of millions of dollars once applied to innovation will shift to "Sunshine" management.
"Do you want your doctor pilloried for eating a corporate bagel while getting useful product information that might benefit you?" asks Tom. "Do you want your hospital hiring compliance officers instead of nurses or laboratory technicians? Do you want medical researchers censured for being paid by industry for discoveries that might save your life? ... This will benefit predators: the media who want to embarrass doctors, the lawyers who sue doctors and drug companies."
Markets do not automatically taint science. As with every other service the market provides, it is the anti-capitalist attitude that does more harm.