William & Mary Business Law Review


Steven R. Salbu


Pharmaceutical manufacturers develop relationships with healthcare providers for several purposes, including the marketing and sale of their products. Professional associations give guidance to physicians and companies for managing these relationships ethically. Some practices permitted by these associations entail conflicts of interest. This Article explores two of these practices: (i) company funding of external educational seminars, conferences, and continuing medical education; and (ii) company-hosted speaker programs. The conflict of interest concerns raised by the former practice are manageable, and the practice should continue to be permitted subject to appropriate safeguards; however, the conflict of interest concerns raised by the latter practice create an unacceptable ethical hazard that cannot be managed. Company-hosted speaker programs should be prohibited.