Conflicts of Interest

Observers claim that a study identified several clauses in old Coca-Cola research contracts, those that “could suppress ‘critical health information’ and indeed may have already done so.” And while “the documents contained no firm examples of Coca-Cola suppressing unfavorable research, … the study's authors say "what is important is that the provision exists."
How did pre-diabetes enter the medical vocabulary? Does it serve to improve our health -- or is it just an opportunity to create a market for medical thinking and medical sales?
Is it possible that patient advocates have hidden conflicts of interest? That they accept funding from Big Pharma, the du jour villains of healthcare? Further, was the ever-cynical Television Doc right in his assessment of patients' ability to tell the truth?
ProPublica, like a dog with a bone, continues to chew at Memorial Sloan Kettering and what the publication feels is the hospital's conflict of Interest. But it's time to put the bone down and have a more honest discussion. Why is one of the world's greatest hospitals still a ProPublica punching bag?
Clinical guidelines are increasingly influential but they're written by experts in the field. Are guidelines a faithful compilation of evidence, or instead, just biased, perhaps self-serving, self-regulation? Dr. John Ioannidis, one of medicine's important voices, weighs in.
Rather than rehash the disclosure of conflicts that led to the downfall of the now-former Chief Medical Officer at Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York, consider how this episode reflects a more common problem of "entitled" powerful people. Here are two remedies that don't require investigations and can possibly help correct medical research's vacillating integrity dilemma.
"Follow the money!" activists shout. The money trail, according to this logic, always leads to lies and deception. This puerile fallacy, argumentum ad aurum, is just a thinly disguised ad hominem attack commonly used against scientists. Instead of criticizing the quality or conclusions of the research, activists instead assault the integrity of the scientist.
A recent study says negative news coverage of statin drugs makes some patients discontinue their use, subsequently producing more heart attacks (and death) as a result. But, one of the authors was paid by the drug maker as a consultant. Does this automatically nullify the study? Or, is there something else going on?
Since its inception in 2010, the FDA s Tobacco Products Scientific Advisory Committee (TPSAC) has been populated by highly conflicted experts. Although it s powerless, still some rules need following. Federal Judge Leon agrees; FDA s Zeller does not.
How do you ensure that the FDA advisory panels crucial to the drug approval process have the right members? ACSH advisor Dr. David Shlaes, the former head of infectious disease research at Wyeth, addresses these issues especially as they relate to antibiotic panels in his recent thought-provoking entry entitled Conflict of Interest vs. Competent Advice.
The promotion of drugs to doctors has been a hot button issue for quite some time. But now, GlaxoSmithKline CEO Andrew Witty may be leading the pharmaceutical industry in a very different direction.
FROM THE EXECUTIVE SUMMARY For approximately a century, industry has been a powerful motivating force in the creation of new technology and the underwriting of scientific research. Yet the last two decades have seen the development of a sweeping conflicts of interest movement aimed squarely at curtailing academic/industry biomedical research collaborations and restricting membership on government scientific advisory boards to researchers associated within dustry.