every fourth biomedical scientist is affiliated with corporations, and two-thirds of the universities hold equity in companies that sponsor their research. These are the findings of a study conducted by researchers from the Yale University, usa. "A comprehensive review of scientific literature confirms that financial relationships among industry, scientific investigators and academic institutions are pervasive," says Justin Bekelman, the lead researcher. While most of the research work reviewed during the study was from North America, the findings are very relevant to Australia, says Bekelman.
The researchers found strong and consistent evidence about industry-sponsored research drawing conclusions that are supportive of its products. The industry funds trials such as those that compare a new drug to a placebo, but not with the existing options. It also tries to suppress unfavourable studies. To make matters worse, journals also prefer publishing positive results. The researchers opine that ethics committees of the universities should put their foot down to improve the situation. Governments should also fund independent researchers.
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