How Corporations Corrupt Science At The Public’s Expense

moldybreadThe Union of Concerned Scientists explains how they do it. To sum up:

Corporations suppress research. (“After pork producers contacted his supervisors, a USDA microbiologist was prevented from publishing research showing that emissions from industrial hog farms contained antibiotic-resistant bacteria.”)

They ghostwrite articles. (“A 2011 analysis found evidence of corporate authorship in research articles on a variety of drugs, including Avandia, Paxil, Tylenol, and Vioxx.”)

They create front organizations. (“The Center for Consumer Freedom is a nonprofit that targets dietary guidelines recommended by the FDA, other government agencies, medical associations, and consumer groups. It was founded with a $600,000 grant from Philip Morris, but has also received funding from Cargill, National Steak and Poultry, Monsanto, and Coca-Cola.”)

They corrupt advisory panels. (“A few weeks before a CDC advisory panel met to discuss federal lead standards, two scientists with ties to the lead industry were added to the panel. The committee voted against tightening standards.”)

7 Comments on "How Corporations Corrupt Science At The Public’s Expense"

  1. And some people have the delusion that capitalism is a sure way to progress.

    •  I think if we had a real free market we could buy things from local business with out all the red tape. It would force companies to up the standards because they have to compete. But they keep out anyone who offers any kind of opposition and it keeps their pockets fat and standards in the toilet. ::sigh:: this planet is run by crazy people…

      • Mr Willow | Mar 12, 2012 at 11:32 pm |

        They don’t only keep out opposition; they buy them out, or they merge with them. 

        Local businesses were only sustained through regulations restricting such actions. The moment they were removed, conglomerations began to form, where manufacturing, media, energy, and agricultural companies began to merge, or one company opened several ‘divisions’ to have a tendril in as many sectors of the economy as possible, because unfettered growth is seen as the greatest virtue of capitalism, aside from the relentless and voracious accumulation of wealth, but unfettered growth means eventually one entity will accrue much more influence, and more leverage, and more control than another. 

        The creation of Wal-Mart was ‘the free market in action’, and it resulted in the devastation of small businesses all over the nation, because why go to Bob’s Hardware, Violet’s Books, Roger’s Electronics, and Sybil’s Toys when you can just go to one store and get all your shopping done? Apathy and a want for stolid convenience is what killed small businesses, a willingness to become ‘consumers’ instead of craftsman’s patrons is what killed small businesses. 

        And if we had a ‘free-market’, what would become of the enormous corporations that own the intellectual property and patents on the vast majority of products we read, watch, and use? Are they simply going to cease to exist? Because if they remain, they will still control huge swathes of the economy (manufacturing, entertainment, etc.). Without some restriction placed upon small businesses, in regard to how much leverage they can have, or how many sectors of the economy they can influence, small businesses will become big businesses, which will become corporations, and so on and so forth. 

  2. Norm Sperling | Mar 12, 2012 at 3:24 pm |

    A proper target but 2 mis-aimed salvos.  The picture shows a now-rare image of spoilage, while the corporate overreaction is to overdo preservatives, not under-do them.  And the salvo against ghostwriters is just plain wrongheaded; the problem is lying and cheating, not improved writing style: .

    • The ghost writing you’re describing here, yes is good. But the ghostwriting people have complaints about is used to make a paper look more important (by tacking on a relatively well known author whom has no interaction with the research, with or without their permission) or to hide conflict of interests(in the case of the corporations funding the research into that which supports their business).

  3. I hope you do realize that the government does the same thing.  They suppress research with regulations and by handing out grants to people who will further their cause.  The FDA is more corrupt than all the corporations combined.

  4. pissedninja | Mar 13, 2012 at 7:55 am |

    red tape kills this country, before we know it we are going to need a license to wipe our ass cause we are dealing with “hazardous” material.

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