Scientists find themselves under scrutiny now more than ever before, and that scrutiny intensifies when their research is at the center of a public policy debate. Sometimes, this scrutiny helps educate the public and clarify what we know; at other times, this scrutiny is designed to confuse the public and policymakers. Today, UCS is releasing a guide that helps scientists deal with harassment and other unwarranted attacks on their integrity and their work. Read More
September 27th, 2012
July 3rd, 2012
The Monsanto Company is raking it in—last week they reported third quarter profits of $937 million. Yes, you read that right: Monsanto’s profit for the three-month period ending May 31 amounted to nearly a billion dollars, up a whopping 35% from the same quarter last year. That raging river of cash flowing in must make it easy for the company to finance a flurry of advertising and lobbying extolling the virtues its products. According to Monsanto’s PR, the company is feeding a growing population, protecting natural resources, and promoting biodiversity.
July 2nd, 2012
Misinformation about climate science is a dangerous thing. Scientists have been telling policymakers for years that climate change poses serious threats to our health and economic well-being. But too many polluting corporations have pursued a strategy of delay and denial to protect their near-term bottom lines rather than the public interest. Read More
May 2nd, 2012
It is ironic that 50 years after the drug thalidomide was found to have caused serious harm to tens of thousands of babies in Europe and Great Britain, but not the U.S., both the Administration and Congress are backing efforts that could unravel the safety net and erode the power of American agencies to protect public health and safety. Read More
April 13th, 2012
Experts on FDA advisory panels with financial conflicts of interest can influence the approval of a drug in multiple ways, not only by voting to approve a drug but also by dominating the discussion and pressuring other panelists. In the case of the popular contraceptive drug Yaz, four scientists with financial conflicts of interest were enough to push the vote in favor of the drug, with significant consequences for some women. Read More
April 3rd, 2012
In today’s New York Times, Gardiner Harris describes tensions between the FDA, Congress and the White House regarding the agency’s attempts to inform and protect the public. It’s an incredible article that helps demonstrate the pervasiveness of both political and corporate pressure on the agency, and how those who do not have scientific training in public health attempt to take decision-making authority on what should be scientific issues away from those who do.
March 30th, 2012
March 23rd, 2012
As I’m sure you’ve noticed, we have been blogging quite a bit recently about the FDA. This corresponds to legislation that would determine how the FDA approves and monitors drugs and medical devices. But why have we been so focused on reducing the number of FDA advisory panel members who have financial conflicts-of-interest? Read More
March 19th, 2012
In a previous blog post, I explained the FDA’s complex process for approving drugs and medical devices. However, in many cases, pressure from commercial interests has broken down this process. The approval and subsequent recall of Vioxx took its toll on thousands of Americans, including my own father.