Industry-Backed Science: Better

By November 1, 2008Health Care

From John Tierney, the TierneyLab blog at The New York Times, “‘Misleading’ Research From Industry?

In 2005, The Journal of the American Medical Association cited “concerns about misleading reporting of industry-sponsored research” to justify its stricter standards for any such research to be considered for publication. The new policy, requiring researchers with no financial connections to the sponsor to vouch for the data and perform statistical work, was promptly criticized in an editorial in The British Medical Journal as “manifestly unfair” because it created a “a hierarchy of purity among authors.”

Now some researchers have looked to see what kind of hierarchy actually exists. After analyzing weight-loss research conducted over four decades, they’ve found that the quality of data reporting in industry-sponsored research does seem to be different from that in other research: It’s better.

If the purpose of the research is to help develop products that industry makes a profit on, it makes sense that a premium be placed on studies’ accuracy and quality. Profits trump politics.

(Hat tip: Glenn Reynolds)

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