• Conflicts of interest, the NEJM, and where we go next

    If you haven’t yet, take a look at Lisa Rosenbaum’s NEJM essays (here, here, and here) calling for new thinking about researchers and financial conflicts of interest. The essays are nuanced and 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. I’m sympathetic to many of her arguments, but I think we need more transparency in science, not less (see also here). Austin explores her views herehere, and here. Rosenbaum has elicited some exceptionally 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.


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