The National Law Journal of July 23rd has an article entitled "Manipulating Science" by Jon Haber. It is worth reading. Haber correctly begins by saying "Corporations will stop at nothing to make and protect their profits, even when they put America lives at risk. Then, when they are shown to be knowingly marketing dangerous products, they typically employ every possible tactic to avoid accountability." How true in my experience over almost fifty years of law practice suing big business and large corporations.
Haber then focuses upon the abuse of the civil justice system by corporations in connection with their buying experts to back up the defective and harmful products. Haber cites the Rago v Federal Signal Corporation, an Illinois state damage suit, where thousands of fire fighters had suffered hearing damage from the sirens the company manufactured. The defense lawyers relied upon a study by Dr. William Clark, a professor at Washington University in St. Louis School of Medicine and chair of the school’s audiology department. This study concluded that fire fighters weren’t really at risk for hearing damage from the sirens. But, it then turned out that Clark had been a paid consultant to the company for a very long time and had helped defend the company from similar suits while doing the study. In fact, the company had provided Clark "research" to assist him in his study. Haber says that the defendant company did everything it could to conceal the connection between Clark and the company in the litigation. When the truth was finally learned through the hard work of plaintiff’s counsel, the federal judge barred Clark from testifying and sanctioned the company $50,000 in attorney fees for the plaintiff’s work in having to dig up the truth that had been concealed.
The increasing influence pharmaceutical companies and corporations have over academia and science in teaching environment has corrupted much of what we used to be able to rely upon as truthful research. Haber says that The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) issued a warning to the dean of the Harvard Medical School after Harvard researchers failed to disclose financial ties to drug companies in three separate studies submitted to JAMA.
Bigbusinesses corrupting influence over achademia has causedwidespread cynical attitudes about "research" papers and studies. How true: Big business will stop at nothing to make and protect their profits.