Prominent Academic Scientists Begin to Reject Industry Pay

The New York Times ran an article on doctor’s beginning to reject industry pay. The article begins: “With little fanfare, a small number of prominent academic scientists have made a decision that was until recently all but unheard of. They decided to stop accepting payments from food, drug and medical device companies.” Here’s one researcher’s testimony:

Kelly D. Brownell, director of the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at Yale, made a similar decision. His was to protect his integrity when he began to wonder whether his industry associations were subtly affecting his objectivity. “The money offers started happening about 20 years ago, at the point that I became a visible person in the field,” Dr. Brownell said.

First it was drug companies developing obesity drugs. Then it was food companies. Eventually, Dr. Brownell said, he began to worry. Were his associations unconsciously affecting his objectivity? He said the money could be substantial. He was offered, for example, $50,000 to be on an advisory board.

“It is easy to offer subtle statements that would favor a drug,” Dr. Brownell said. “You do it for two reasons. You’ve got a money stream coming in, and you get to like the people who work for the companies. You feel like you’re on a team.”

Kalea Chapman, Psy.D.

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