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AAAS paper on academic conflicts of interest

  >From Gregory Aharonian's  November 6, 1997  Patnews is this very
  interesting report of a paper presented at AAAS regarding conflicts of
  interest among academic biotechnology researchers.
  !19971106  Some patent lawsuit settlements/awards
      Finally, a paper presented at this summer's AAAS meeting reports on
  curious trend that may or may not be a problem.  Sheldon Krimsky, I
  an economist at Tufts University in the Boston area, did a study on the
  financial interests of biomedical researchers.  He examined 789
  papers published by 1105 scientists based at Massachusetts universities
  in 1992.  In 34 percent of the papers (267 papers in total), at least
  of the authors stood to make money from the results they were reporting,
  either because they held a key patent, or were an officer of a
  company exploiting the research, or served on the scientific advisory
  of a biotech firm. None of these 267 papers mentioned the fact that one
  more of the authors had a financial interest in the results.  Given that
  Krimsky was unable to check if authors owned stocked in biotech
  or were being paid as consultants, he suspects the percentage will be
  greater than 34%.
      His argument is that the problem isn't that the quality of the
  is being affected (science still has to be replicatable), but that these
  financial ties should be disclosed in such publications.
      A minor issue you might think, but in some cases, the stakes are
  and the politics a real mess.  A case in point is a proposed merger of
  Stanford Medical complex and the University of California - San
  Medical complex.  It is a complicated affair involving the transferring
  public properties to a private organization.  While supporters argue
  it will lead to efficiencies in services provided, detractors argue that
  the purported gains are exaggerated, and that the real reason is that
  of the people involved in the mergers (doctors, board of directors,
  have stakes in the large biotech industry in the Bay Area, stakes that
  would stand to gain much from a merger, since the combined facilities
  would be an even more potent testing grounds for new discoveries.
  Greg Aharonian
  Internet Patent News Service