In my capacity as director of the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics, which runs a Lab studying “institutional corruption,” I am incredibly happy to report this very significant finding in a study we helped to support.
A string of researchers (Aaron S. Kesselheim, M.D., J.D., M.P.H., Christopher T. Robertson, Ph.D., J.D., Jessica A. Myers, Ph.D., Susannah L. Rose, Ph.D., Victoria Gillet, B.A., Kathryn M. Ross, M.B.E., Robert J. Glynn, Ph.D., Steven Joffe, M.D., and Jerry Avorn, M.D.) ran tests to determine whether researchers discount research based upon whether it was funded by industry.
The conclusion published today in the New England Journal of Medicine is: they do — regardless of the merit of the underlying research. That is, regardless of how rigorous the underlying work is, the fact it has industry funding leads doctors to be less confident about the results.
This is an important result. It is also an encouraging result. (Al)Most (all) in industry who fund research believe they are funding “the truth.” If the fact of their funding the research leads people to doubt “the truth,” that might lead them to fund the research differently — a donation to neutral funding entity, e.g.
Or put differently: if industry funding is viewed as corrupting, then this research demonstrates: corruption doesn’t pay.