Bioethics, Politics and Business

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In the decision-making involving biosciences and biotechnology, both politicians and the general public have come to increasingly rely on different kinds of experts and specialised bodies. Interest groups such as industry, religious authorities and consumer organisations also try to influence political decision-making, and the role of the media has not always been - it is claimed - as neutral as the public perceives it to be. At the same time, according to the democratic ideal, ultimate power should rest with the parliamentarians and with the people. Who has the power in decision-making in biotechnology? Can there be legitimate expertise in bioethics? How can we improve the power balance? These are some of the questions this book seeks to answer. The book is divided into three parts. The first part presents articles dealing with the role of biopolitics and the expert bodies in relation to the democratic ideal. The second part looks at the special role of the media in relation to decision-making in bioethics and biopolitics. The third part of the book looks at the links between the biotechnology industry and bioethical decision-making.



Private Public Partnership and Potential Conflicts of Interest

Biotechnological research in general and biomedical research in particular annually attract billions of dollars in public funding, research grants and private investments. Early biomedicine is an area where the global potential to change the world is huge. So why should the health care system and industry, private and public funding not make the verification of early results possible? In spite of all the scientific breakthroughs, we are still waiting for the large economic successes: indeed, nearly all the funding organisations promote anticipated returns as a major objective for their grants/funding. (1) This increases the pressure on researchers to succeed, especially in academia, but at the same time one should remember that researchers have multiple roles and expectations in today’s society. A structured and open process of public funding of precompetitive research is therefore needed, and has been set up both in the US and in Europe.but is in principle not implemented. (1,2) In principle, private-public partnership (PPP) refers to the contractual agreements between a public agency and private sector entity which includes a university that allows for greater private sector participation in the delivery of projects. (1,2)


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