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Pharma or Not, ethics and technology

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  • Pharma or Not, ethics and technology

    Dear Colleagues,

    I would like to pose a question which in some respects it maybe considered
    rhetorical and in some respects it may be considered not very relevant to
    this forum. However, as it is aimed to be thought provoking and the topic
    is focused on engineers and physical scientists working in medicine. This I
    hope will make it relevant to this forum. I also hope to get some responses
    from the more senior workers in the field, from their own personal

    The question is:
    Are there any figures available to show the grant investment (by
    governments, charities or research councils, etc.) in the following two
    opposing fields.
    a- management of diseases by pharmaceutical means
    b- management of diseases by non-pharmaceutical means.

    What I hope to find is information on how much public money is channelled to
    increasing drug dependence and how much is channelled to decreasing. I
    would also strongly encourage a response from those who may have specific
    examples of relevant projects.

    I also like to link the discussion, if there is any at all, to the concepts
    of “market forces” and “ethics”. If the work of scientists is driven by
    funding and funding sources are increasingly market/industry related then
    are scientists driven by the profit factor? (indirectly at least). How do
    scientists reconcile the opposing need of the industry for more consumerism
    with the ethical needs of patients to become more self reliant and less
    dependent on drugs or devices.

    Take diabetes as an example and the funds that go into researching the usage
    or development of medicated treatment strategies as opposed to non-medicated
    alternatives. The latter would require developing methods and models to
    understand the physiological aspects of exercise and diet. However, I think
    much of the investment is in developing new drugs or in developing new drug
    delivery devices!

    With best wishes for the new year for all


    Dr. H Rassoulian MIPEM, CSci, CEng, FIMechE, CS
    Head of Clinical Bioengineering
    Dept. Medical Physics & Bioengineering
    Southampton General Hospital
    Tremona Rd.
    Southampton SO16 6YD

    Tel: +44 (0)23 80 79 69 45
    Fax: +44 (0)23 80 79 41 17
    Alternative Email:

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