From bad pharma to good pharma: aligning market forces with good and trustworthy practices through accreditation, certification, and rating

J Law Med Ethics. 2013 Fall;41(3):601-10. doi: 10.1111/jlme.12069.


This article explores whether the bioethical performance and trustworthiness of pharmaceutical companies can be improved by harnessing market forces through the use of accreditation, certification, or rating. Other industries have used such systems to define best practices, set standards, and assess and signal the quality of services, processes, and products. These systems have also informed decisions in other industries about where to invest, what to buy, where to work, and when to regulate. Similarly, accreditation, certification, and rating programs can help drug companies address stakeholder concerns in four areas: clinical trial design and management, dissemination of clinical trial results, marketing practices, and the accessibility of medicines. To illuminate processes - such as conflicts of interests and revolving-door policies - that can jeopardize the integrity of accreditation, certification, and ratings systems, the article concludes with a consideration of recent failures of credit-rating agencies and a review of the regulatory capture literature.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Accreditation*
  • Bioethical Issues*
  • Certification*
  • Conflict of Interest
  • Drug Industry*
  • Humans
  • Public Opinion
  • Social Responsibility*