GE Healthcare - "Most Admired Company" or Foe of Public Health


  • Martin Donohoe School of Community Health, Portland State University
  • Claire Robinson Editor, GM Watch


public health, social justice, ethics, corporations, activism, General Electric, pollution


This article reviews the activities of GE Healthcare and its parent company, General Electric (ranked by Forbes Magazine in 2008 as the world's largest company), which have been antithetical to public health. These activities include unethical human subject experiments; environmental pollution; workers' rights and workplace health and safety violations; fraud; false and misleading advertising; sponsorship of corporate front groups; lobbying; a personal attack on a radiologist for exposing the risks of nephrogenic systemic sclerosis from its contrast agent Omniscan; and an ethically troubling technology transfer agreement with New York Presbyterian Hospital. Despite such activities, General Electric has been highly praised in the business community, including being named "America's Most Admired Company" in a Forbes Magazine poll and one of the "World's Most Respected Companies" in polls conducted by Barron's and Financial Times.

Author Biography

Martin Donohoe, School of Community Health, Portland State University

Adjunct Associate Professor, School of Community Health, Portland State University; Chief Science Advisor, Campaign for Safe Foods; Member, Board of Advisors, Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility; Senior Physician, Internal Medicine, Kaiser Sunnyside Medical Center






Social Medicine in Practice