Scientific Researcher Paid To Keep Quiet

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[Dubious Research]
Earlier this month, Sheffield University in Britain offered $252,000 to one of its senior medical professors, Aubrey Blumsohn. According to a copy of a proposed settlement released by Blumsohn, the university promised to pay him if he would agree to leave his post and not make "any detrimental or derogatory statements" about Sheffield or its employees. For several years, Blumsohn had been complaining of scientific misconduct. His concerns primarily revolved around a $250,000 research contract between Sheffield and the Ohio-based Procter & Gamble Pharmaceuticals.

Well, now we know why drug costs are so high. It costs a lot of money to pay scientists to keep quiet when the research results are not favorable.

Blumsohn claimed that the company had denied him access to key data and then tried to ghostwrite his analysis of it. He further alleged that P&G had engaged in such practices before.

Why did Sheffield, a top-flight research university, try to silence and get rid of Blumsohn? The answer appears to lie in the complex and increasingly compromised relationships that have grown up between some research universities and the pharmaceutical industry. In 2001, the editors of nearly a dozen prominent medical journals warned that growing industry interference with academic research (from study design to data analysis and publication) was threatening the objectivity and trustworthiness of medical research. The editors issued new guidelines requiring all authors publishing in the journals to verify that they "had full access to all of the data" related to their studies and that they took "complete responsibility" for "the accuracy of the data analysis."

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