Conflicts of Interest

On May 25, 2023, merely six weeks before the Wuhan Biosafety lab lost its NIH funding amid the controversy of possible lab leaks and connection with COVID-19, the U.S. proudly opened the doors of the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility (NBAF), the 14th biosafety level-4 lab in the nation. It was also the first here capable of handling large animals. What is going on?
Thirty years ago, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) launched a PR campaign against a plant-growth regulator called Alar, effectively eliminating the use of the chemical in agriculture. What's the legacy of this infamous anti-chemical scare? The New York Times continues to attack good scientists on the say-so of environmental groups. The paper is trashing its credibility.
As we’re in the midst of a reevaluation of whether the Virology Laboratory in Wuhan, China was the true source of the Covid-19 virus that caused the pandemic, a theory which the World Health Organization (WHO), many U.S. scientists, and the media rejected for over a year’s time, there is another issue that warrants a complete reexamination: The International Agency for Research on Cancer’s (IARC’s) assessment of glyphosate. 
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.