Lisa Rosenbaum has an important series of essays in the New England Journal of Medicine (here, here, and here) calling for new thinking about researchers and financial conflicts of interest. Her views are nuanced and they go against the grain of much recent writing on research ethics.

Rosenbaum’s essays have generated many responses (the Lown Institute has collected some of them here). I examine Rosenbaum’s views in an essay in the New Republic (and on this blog here). I’m sympathetic to many of her arguments, but I think we need more transparency in science, not less. Austin Frakt explores her views herehere, and here. Rosenbaum has elicited some incredibly harsh rejoinders, including one from two former editors-in-chief of the NEJM.

This discussion has been intense because the stakes are very high. If manipulated research data allow bad drugs to enter the market, people can die. Conversely, if unjustified prejudice against industry slows the progress of research, that could kill people too. And it’s an issue that needs more attention in Canadian medical schools.

William Gardner
William Gardner is a child psychologist at the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario and Professor of Epidemiology at the University of Ottawa. He writes professionally on children's mental health, on statistical methods in social research, on Canadian and US health policy, and on ethics. He also blogs at The Incidental Economist. @Bill_Gardner

You are welcome to republish this Policy Options article online or in print periodicals, under a Creative Commons/No Derivatives licence.

Creative Commons License