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March 25, 2002

Conflicts of Interest: Science, Money, and Health

Arch Intern Med. 2002;162(6):635-637. doi:10.1001/archinte.162.6.635

We have met the enemy and he is us. (Walt Kelly, 1913-1973: Pogo cartoon, 1970)

IMPRESSIVE ADVANCES in science and medicine occurred during the 20th century. During the 100-year span from 1900 to 2000, life expectancy for men increased from 47 to 74 years. Scientific discoveries, such as the vaccines for polio and the development of effective and safe antibiotics, have markedly improved the general level of health on our planet. Identification of the relationship between high blood pressure, cholesterol level, and atherosclerosis led to the development of drugs and interventions that have helped to control each of these entities and thereby improve the morbidity and mortality associated with atherosclerotic vascular disease. Laboratory and clinical investigations continue to be essential components in a process that has already led to markedly better health for many Americans.

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