How a flood of corporate funding can distort NIH research

(From The Washington Post)

This month, National Institutes of Health Director Francis Collins seemed to shut down a noxious ethical problem. The agency released a 165-page internal investigation of an alcohol consumption study that had been funded mostly by beer and liquor companies. The study’s lead investigator and NIH officials were in frequent contact with the alcohol industry while designing the study, which, according to the postmortem, seemed predetermined to find alcohol’s benefits but not potential harms, such as cancer. In several email exchanges published in the report, NIH scientists seemed to joke about taking a drink every time somebody said “cheers,” which was a proposed acronym for their study. Collins ended the trial and promised to create new ethical boundaries for how NIH officials deal with industry.

But the intellectual corruption at our government research agencies runs much deeper, and this was only the latest scandal involving hidden corporate influence.

Not that it matters much in this instance but Collins is an Obama administration holdover. He also led the Human Genome Project.

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