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Commentary

Free the Scientists! Conflict-of-interest rules purport to cure a problem that doesn't exist - and are stifling medical progress.
Forbes, 2-14-05

Dr. Stossel takes issues with the recently enacted NIH restrictions on employees accepting funding from or taking a financial stake in companies in the health care sector.

“The theory behind the rules is that a financial interest causes an academic scientist to lose objectivity and report biased facts. In the real world, however, these restrictions address nearly nonexistent scientific corruption and ultimately impede medical progress by depriving pharmaceutical companies of access to biomedical scholars.”

Dr. Stossel believes that such private-public collaborations have been “overwhelmingly beneficial” and that the bias against such relationships is just that—a bias. “Editors of high-profile medical journals vilify the pharmaceutical industry, provide forums for antibusiness tactics, tout theoretical evils of conflict-of-interest and promote an idealized view of research. The ideological commentaries appear side by side with peer-reviewed scientific reports, thus carrying the weight of objective truth to reporters and to the public.”



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