Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Putting the Boots in

It's not just a shop for buying razor blades, aspirin and hot water bottles. It's a multibillion pound international pharmaceutical company, and when it doesn't like the results of research it paid for, it stops at absolutely nothing to suppress them.

Go here for a tale of intimidation and dirty tricks: lawyers, non-existent ethical objections, private detectives… even an in-house re-analysis of results which - surprise surprise - came to the opposite conclusions to the academic researchers, claimed that no such research existed and was published in a journal controlled by this in-house team.

All hail Dr. Dong of University of California San Francisco. Boo to all the medical societies which failed to support her - because they're funded by Boots/Knoll.

the fears induced by the increased part industry is playing in the funding of research are not dispelled. And before we decide the danger is past, workers at Carnegie-Mellon University reported that in their sample of university-industry research centers, 35% of the signed agreements allowed the sponsor to delete information from publication, 53% allowed publication to be delayed, and 30% allowed both

This is what happens when capitalism meets science. I work in literature - it's unlikely that anything other than my own laziness prevents me from publication, but I have a huge amount of sympathy for the pressures facing my scientific colleagues.

No comments: