Health Law and Bioethics

HealthLaw and Bioethics


Financialconflict of interest refers to a potentially significant financialinterest with a capability of influencing the outcome of a researchand or presenting bias report. Non-financial conflict of interest isanother aspect apart from the financial interest that can affect theprofessional judgement of a situation due to the interest in thesecondary factors. It can lead to massive loss and in situations asthe case under consideration, it can lead to death. Jesse Gelsingerdied during a trial gene-therapy, and evidence suggest the existenceof a conflict of interest. The government and regulatory authorityshould, therefore, clearly distinguish between financial andnon-financial conflict of interest to protect human subjected tomedical research (Brennan,Rothman, Blank, Blumenthal, Chimonas, Cohen, &amp Smelser, 2006).

Inthe reading, it is clear that the papers signed failed to discloseall the relevant facts necessary fully. For instance, the reportfailed to disclose that the drugs used in the therapy had causeddeath to a monkey to enable the food and drugs administration to takean informed decision regarding the anticipated trial. The researchteam went ahead and injected the same drug in the liver of the youngadult which later led to his death. What interest did the researchteam have on the outcome? The authority should clearly distinguishbetween financial and non-financial interest and understand the wayforward. Those who have an interest in the research and are likely toinfluence the result should be eliminated. Of much importance, theregulators should protect the participants and avoid such unfortunateevents as the death of young Jesse (Bekelman,Li &amp Gross, 2003).

Followingthe death of Jesse, his father defended the researchers and in somecases referred to them as &quotethical guys&quot in a Washingtonpost interview. However, as events unveiled, it was discovered thatDoctor James Wilson had a financial interest in the case. Thatprompted Jesse`s father to file a lawsuit against Dr. Wilson and twoothers. The lawsuit sought damage for the use of an adenovirus thatwas &quotunreasonably dangerous&quot and other torts includingbreach of duty. The case was hastily decided, and no partyacknowledged a mistake. Nonetheless, a financial settlement was done,and Food and Drug Administration suspended all charges regarding genetherapy because the sponsoring institution name had been severelytarnished (Thompson, 1993).

Theregulatory authority, in this case, had to clearly distinguishbetween the conflicts of interest. Doctor Wilson had a significantfinancial interest in the case and at the same time was in theresearch team. Any mistake offended against the volunteer researchparticipants may not be honored as long as there is a financialinterest in the sponsoring institution by the members of the researchteam. It is no wonder the claim put forth by the victim`s father wasprivately settled in a record seven weeks. Justice was not done tothe research fraternity because similar claims could be expected inthe future and no structures are in place to protect the participants(Wilson,2009).Involving Senate in the case particulars was a good move becausegovernment and regulators can provide guidelines that ensure ethicaland safer human research procedure within the medical field.Protection of participants from people with and without a financialconflict of interest in the research procedure cannot be completewithout proper identification of both financial and non-financialconflict of interest. It was so unfortunate that Jesse had to die insuch a manner, and his case was never substantially decided due toconflict of interest by the participants (Saver,2012).


Bekelman,J. E., Li, Y., &amp Gross, C. P. (2003). Scope and impact offinancial conflicts of interest in biomedical research: a systematicreview. Jama,289(4),454-465.

Brennan,T. A., Rothman, D. J., Blank, L., Blumenthal, D., Chimonas, S. C.,Cohen, J. J., … &amp Smelser, N. (2006). Health industry practicesthat create conflicts of interest: a policy proposal for academicmedical centers. Jama,295(4),429-433.

Saver,R. S. (2012). Is It Really All about the Money? ReconsideringNon‐FinancialInterests in Medical Research. TheJournal of Law, Medicine &amp Ethics,40(3),467-481.

Thompson,D. F. (1993). Understanding financial conflicts of interest. NewEngland Journal of Medicine,329,573-573.

Wilson,R. F. (2009). Estate of Gelsinger v. Trustees of University ofPennsylvania: Money, prestige, and conflicts of interest in humansubjects research. Healthlaw and bioethics: Cases In Context,229.