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Corporate funding does not necessarily lead to biased research

| | May 17, 2016
This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.

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. . .[C]orporate funding has become shorthand for bad. . . . Researchers are being hung out to dry because their institutes take corporate funding, even while government is pressuring them to do so. Meanwhile, terrible problems of bias, such as the failure to publish all clinical trial results, attract far too little attention.

. . . .

What’s especially annoying is that the “who funded it?” question – often by people with axes to grind – overrides the inquiries that the public rightly ask. “What do we actually know?” “Do scientists agree on this?” “Is this a proper study and how can I tell?” These are good questions that show us whether the research is actually biased and what we should trust.

We need to get used to asking them, because corporate funding accounts for more than half of our research base. . . . That’s not likely to change: can you imagine popular support for a research tax to replace corporate funding?. . . . Where would we rather see those corporate funds – put into research, or given to shareholders to make the richest 2% richer?. . . .

If we accept that commercial funding of research is necessary, we need to decide the right way to do it. There is huge variation in institutions’ contracts with external funders. Surely the research academies and government have a duty to draw up a standard and a code, and talk to the public about it. We must encourage everybody with a concern about commercial influence to test research against that standard, instead of indulging in this episodic outing and bloodying of researchers.

Read full, original post: It’s silly to assume all research funded by corporations is bent

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