Corporate influences on epidemiology

Pearce, N; (2008) Corporate influences on epidemiology. International journal of epidemiology, 37 (1). pp. 46-53. ISSN 0300-5771 DOI:

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Corporate influences on epidemiology have become stronger and more pervasive in the last few decades, particularly in the contentious fields of pharmacoepidemiology and occupational epidemiology. For every independent epidemiologist studying the side effects of medicines and the hazardous effects of industrial chemicals, there are several other epidemiologists hired by industry to attack the research and to debunk it as junk science. In some instances these activities have gone as far as efforts to block publication. In many instances, academics have accepted industry funding which has not been acknowledged, and only the academic affiliations of the company-funded consultants have been listed. These activities are major threats to the integrity of the field, and its survival as a scientific discipline. There is no simple solution to these problems. However, for the last two decades there has been substantial discussion on ethics in epidemiology, partly in response to the unethical conduct of many industry-funded consultants. Professional organizations, such as the International Epidemiological Association, can play a major role in encouraging and supporting epidemiologists to assert positive principles of how science should work, and how it should be applied to public policy decisions, rather than simply having a list of what not to do.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Conflict of Interest, Epidemiologic Methods, Epidemiology, ethics, Female, Humans, Interprofessional Relations, ethics, Male, New Zealand, Physician's Practice Patterns, ethics, Professional Corporations, ethics
Faculty and Department: Faculty of Epidemiology and Population Health > Dept of Medical Statistics
Research Centre: Centre for Global Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs)
PubMed ID: 18245050
Web of Science ID: 252906600010


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