Science

Rent-a-Researcher

"Earlier this month," writes Jennifer Washburn, "Sheffield University in Britain offered $252,000 to one of its senior medical professors, Aubrey Blumsohn. According to a copy of a proposed settlement released by Blumsohn, the university promised to pay him if he would agree to leave his post and not make 'any detrimental or derogatory statements' about Sheffield or its employees. For several years, Blumsohn had been complaining of scientific misconduct.

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Giving Up the Ghostwriters

Prescription pills"Many of the articles that appear in scientific journals under the byline of prominent academics are actually written by ghostwriters in the pay of drug companies." Used by doctors "to guide their care of patients," these "seemingly objective articles ... are often part of a marketing campaign." The New England Journal of Medicine recently revealed that a 2000 article on Vioxx "omitted information about heart attacks among patients taking the drug.

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Still Doctoring the Facts

"When American corporations come up against inconvenient science," writes Bill Hogan, "they call in the American Council on Science and Health." The group's medical / executive director, Dr. Gilbert Ross, has "defended the Wood Preservative Science Council, saying ...

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Industry Lobbyist Blows Smoke For Medical Marijuana Advocates

Jim Tozzi, the industry friendly lobbyist who helped create the little-known "Data Quality Act," is offering his assistance to medical marijuana advocates who are using the Act to undermine government claims that marijuana has no accepted medical value.

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Manufacturing Uncertainty, Part II

"By definition, uncertainties abound in our work; there's nothing to be done about that," writes David Michaels about scientists studying epidemiology and climate change. Michaels is a professor at George Washington University School of Public Health, working on occupational disease, and served as an assistant secretary of Energy between 1998 and 2001. "Our public health and environmental protection programs will not be effective if absolute proof is required before we act. The best available evidence must be sufficient. Otherwise, we'll sit on our hands and do nothing.

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Manufacturing Uncertainty

There is a growing concern that occupational- and environmental-health research is in crisis. With funding for this type of research a low priority at government agencies, researchers have had to turn to industry for information and money. "Critics of industry-sponsored research argue that even the most forthright agreements between researcher and industry carry risks of bias in results or interpretation that benefit the sponsors," the Chronicle of Higher Education writes.

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Science Under Siege

The American Civil Liberties Union has issued a new report which charges that the Bush administration is using the war on terror as a pretext to tighten restrictions on information. It states that the administration "has sought to impose growing restrictions on the free flow of scientific information, unreasonable barriers on the use of scientific materials and increased monitoring of and restrictions on foreign university students. ...

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