Steve,There are two issues that could be called "conflicts" and I think yours is the latter, but I think you are precluding yourself from a good opportunity if you let it keep you from investing in drug companies.The first "conflict" that you run into is whether owning PFE stock will cause you as a physician to perscribe PFE drugs when another companies drug might be better for the patient. Although you (and I) are sure that owning a stock would never influence our judgement, it is important to avoid even the appearence of an impropriety. If this describes your conflict, then you can easily check yourself by making sure that the % of patients that you have taking PFE drugs is in line with that of other physicians in your field. If I understand your posts however, this is not where you have trouble with PFE ownership.The second "conflict", which I believe that you are having, is that you personally don't like the tactics of PFE when it comes to marketing their products through physicians. I hope that I can give you some insight, but the final decision to invest or not must rest with you.1)PFE, like all drug co's, are publically owned, and have a duty to their shareholders to try to maximize their profits -- this includes agressive marketing2)PFE, and other co's, spend some of their gross profits on research, which keeps the health industry growing, and provides a definite benefit to the population. (through longer life expectancy and improved quality of life)3)As a stockholder, you will have input as to the board of dir. and other major decisions of the company.--Now unless your planning on investing at several orders of magnitude above myself, your input will be very small (insignificant) but if you vote to do what you believe is right and to elect the folks that you think will do the right thing, then you will most likely be able to live with yourself. This may sound bad, but it is the way of the world --look at the US political system.4)Your investment in the co, unless it is HUGE will not effect the market capitalization of the company, so by not investing, you are only effecting your own situation, not PFE's5)Your first hand knowledge of the Pharma. business and PFE means that you can draw on your expertise to make investment decisions. Why would you avoid investing in something that you know about, only to invest in another field that puts you at the mercy of financial analysts and rumors.With that being said, I will let you know a little about myself. I support (in spirit at least)the NRA and the right of law-abiding citizens to own guns. (I don't have a problem with background checks but don't believe that it should take more than a few days to make a gun purchase) I do not own any stock in gun mfgs, soley because I don't see them as a good investment. I do own stock in PFE, Bio-tech, Hi-tech, as well as cigarette and alcohol companies, mostly because I have at least some understanding of their markets and business. I don't see any of these as conflicts of interest, but some might disagree.I hope that something here may help you in making your decision about investing. Whatever you decide--GOOD LUCK!
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