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RELATIONSHIPS WITH THE ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGE INDUSTRY, PHARMACEUTICAL COMPANIES AND OTHER FUNDING AGENCIES: HOLY GRAIL OR POISONED CHALICE? Peter Miller 1,2.

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Presentation on theme: "RELATIONSHIPS WITH THE ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGE INDUSTRY, PHARMACEUTICAL COMPANIES AND OTHER FUNDING AGENCIES: HOLY GRAIL OR POISONED CHALICE? Peter Miller 1,2."— Presentation transcript:

1 RELATIONSHIPS WITH THE ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGE INDUSTRY, PHARMACEUTICAL COMPANIES AND OTHER FUNDING AGENCIES: HOLY GRAIL OR POISONED CHALICE? Peter Miller 1,2 Thomas F. Babor 3 1 Deakin University, Geelong, Australia 2 Commissioning Editor, Addiction 3 Associate Editor-in-chief, Addiction

2 “It is the job of science to advise, to be helpful to, and to support the policy process, but its inalienable responsibility is also to criticise, question, test and be awkward. Science has to have a larger vision of itself than its being merely a biddable management tool”. (Edwards, 1993: 13)

3 Two main reasons 1) Keeping true to the ideal of science – –essential for the field, sustaining public trust ensuring that the field moves towards the most effective interventions available. 2) Adhering to the ethical principle of beneficence (the obligation to maximise possible benefits and minimise possible harms) – –equally important when considering whether research could truly be said to be in the best interests of the research participants

4 Types of Adverse Influence Direct censorship Non publication Limited access Project funding Inadequate/ inappropriate researchers Source: Gruning et al., SuppressionDilutionDistractionConcealmentManipulation Source: Miller et al., 2006.

5 Sources of influence Tobacco industry Alcohol industry Pharmaceutical industry Gambling industry Government agencies Other funding bodies Other interest groups Our own biases

6 Alcohol and Tobacco Industries Direct support to Centres and investigators to conduct research – –(e.g., Philip Morris funding to develop “safer cigarettes,” or DIAGEO funding to investigate the “drivers” of binge drinking) Indirect support from Trade Associations or Social Aspects Organizations to conduct surveys or write book chapters – –(e.g., International Centre for Alcohol Policy) Direct support to Universities for investigators’ salaries and centre endowments – –(e.g., Ernest Gallo Clinic and Research Center at the University of California) Indirect support from “independent” research funding organizations – –(e.g., alcohol and tobacco companies set up organizations that give research grants to young investigators – European Research Advisory Board (ERAB), Alcoholic Beverage Medical Research Foundation (ABMRF); Drinkwise (Australia) Direct contract research – –(e.g., do an analysis of the literature, conduct a survey, study the “taste” qualities of cigarettes or alcohol

7 Pharmaceutical Industry Huge investment in psychoactive medications development (e.g., pain, sleep, anxiety, etc. ), and in pharmacological cures for addiction (e.g., naltrexone, methadone, etc.) Direct contracting of university faculty and contract research organizations for clinical trials Often control research design, medication dose, data analyses, publication process Evidence suggests that studies funded by drug companies are more likely to produce positive findings (e.g., Friedman and Richter, 2004)

8 Government agencies "pursuit of scientific truth, detached from the practical interests of everyday life, ought to be treated as sacred by every government, and it is in the highest interests of all that honest servants of truth should be left in peace." Albert Einstein (1934) Globally one of the biggest offenders Types of research funded/not funded Censorship

9 Other interest groups/Our own bias Professional associations, (such as medical societies) –Traditionally have sought to maintain or increase their influence –Each discipline produces its own literature base. –Size and complexity of this literature base helps to determine differential power structures within treatment settings. Religious organisations Fellowship groups - may influence research findings through non- participation. Service providers –derive their income (and some of their raison d'être) from treating addiction. –political and economic weight of mantras such as ‘treatment works’ –pragmatic needs of governments and service providers. –invested both financially and existentially in the perceived success of the treatment they provide. Personal Conflicts of Interest –Religious beliefs "for the benefit of a secular readership, in articles concerning religion and medicine in the Journal, the Editor should require the authors' religious position to be stated under 'competing interests'" (Clarke, 2007: 422) – –Personal investment Disciplinary training, self worth, financial security, ‘legacy’

10 Who can act? Academic journals –Author statements, outing authors/funders, editorials Institutions –Ethical guidelines, training Professional societies –Codes of conduct, awareness raising Individual academics –‘Outing’ funders, (PERIL analysis)

11 “A submitted manuscript is the intellectual property of its authors, not the study sponsor. We will not review or publish articles based on studies that are conducted under conditions that allow the sponsor to have sole control of the data or to withhold publication.” (Davidoff et al., 2001b: Editor Emeritus, Annals of Internal Medicine )

12 Conflict of interest statements Drug and Alcohol Dependence –10.1. Role of Funding Source. eg, Funding for this study was provided by NIMH Grant XXXXXXX; the NIMH had no further role in study design; in the collection, analysis and interpretation of data; in the writing of the report; or in the decision to submit the paper for publication. 10.2) Contributors. eg, Authors X and Y designed the study and wrote the protocol. Author Z managed the literature searches and summaries of previous related work. 10.3) Conflict of Interest. ALL authors are requested to disclose any actual or potential conflict of interest including any financial, personal or other relationships with other people or organizations within three (3) years of beginning the work submitted that could inappropriately influence, or be perceived to influence, their work. eg, Author Y owns shares in pharma company A. Author X and Z have consulted for pharma company B. All other authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

13 Institutions a growing number of universities have refused to accept funding from the tobacco industry some research centres have developed their own internal policies institutional ethics review boards to assess the appropriateness of funder-researcher relationships E.g. IFT* Requests to conduct research will only be accepted if: the question is formulated globally and is undirected (e.g., the extent of drug abuse in the population) and not biased (e.g., the study is expected to demonstrate that a certain behaviour bears no risk for the population) the research question is scientifically relevant, and the free and unrestricted further design of the study is guaranteed by the contract. Further: guaranteed independent formulation of the research objectives, hypotheses and the study methodology unrestricted statistical analysis, interpretation and publication of results. funds must be granted to the IFT as unrestricted educational grants or donations. do not accept funding of research projects by the tobacco industry A single funding source must not contribute to more than 10 % of the annual budget all industry funds should not exceed 20 %. *Institut fuer Therapieforschung - Munich, Germany

14 Professional Societies Guidelines for the behaviour of acceptable funding bodies, conflicts of interest, and related issues. Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB, 2007) has issued a call to the scientific community to adopt more consistent policies and practices for disclosing and managing financial relationships between academia and industry in biomedical research. The FASEB Toolkit (see Toolkit.htm) –set of model guidelines that speak specifically to institutions that develop and enforce policies for their investigators, editors who develop disclosure policies for authors, and scientific and professional societies that have a role in promoting professional ethics.

15 Individual authors Remains in large part the responsibility of individual authors –limited ability to understand or act upon the complex ethical, political, clinical and scientific issues But, most addiction scientists have chosen to eliminate themselves from participation in activities with obvious conflicts of interest Nevertheless, what is needed is a more systemic set of procedures that allow individuals to conduct a risk analysis of different funding opportunities.

16 PERIL - Adams (2007) Purpose –Are the purposes of the funding and recipient organizations divergent or consistent? Extent –To what extent does the recipient rely on this source of funding? –To what extent does the recipient rely on this source of funding? –As the proportion of income increases, it becomes more difficult to separate from the source’s expectations. Relevant harm –What is the harm associated with the product or service provided by the organization?. Identified –Does the funding organization benefit from being identified with the researcher’s reputation or organization? –Does the funding organization benefit from being identified with the researcher’s reputation or organization? –Is there a visible association with public good activities for the purposes of positive branding. Can this be used for political or commercial purposes. Link –What is the Link between funder and researcher? The more direct the link, the stronger the influence and the more visible the association.

17 E.g. A FUNDING OPPORTUNITY FROM PHILLIP MORRIS A university-based School of Medicine distributes an announcing to all faculty and staff the availability of a new research funding opportunity. The announcement reads: “Please see the link below for an available funding opportunity from the Philip Morris External Research Foundation (http://resadm.uchc.edu/orsp/funding/opps/2007 RFA.pdf).” The website invites scientists to submit funding proposals to Philip Morris' independent, peer reviewed, external research programme, which is willing to support research on the disease mechanisms and health endpoints of tobacco smoking and smoke exposure. The programme's Scientific Advisory Board Members are listed on one of the pages of the Request for Applications (RFA), an impressive looking group of academics, including department chairs, distinguished professors, and even the President of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. Should you apply for the funds?

18 PERIL analysis case illustration #1 Is the purpose of your academic institution consistent with the stated purpose of Phillip Morris? Purposes are incompatible. Anti-scientific record of Phillip Morris. What about the extent of the funding? Accepting funding from a tobacco company could jeopardise money from other sources. This could create a dependence on tobacco money when other sources of funding become more scarce. Is there relevant harm associated with Phillip Morris's continued marketing of tobacco products? The evidence is incontrovertible. Will the recipient of the funds be identified with the funder so that Phillip Morris might benefit from its support of university-based scientists? And could funded scientists eventually be exposed to reputational risk if their names were associated with Phillip Morris? The answer is a possible yes to both questions. Finally, is the nature of the link between recipient and donor direct or indirect? In this case it is indirect, so it may not involve a major conflict of interest, and there are no limitations on publication imposed by the funder. In summary, the analysis indicates that there are incompatible institutional interests, a potential for developing dependence on an industry funding source, relevant harms to the public if tobacco sales continue as more research is conducted, a potential for future reputational risk, and a possible political benefit for Phillip Morris.

19 PERIL analysis case illustration #2 A residential rehabilitation charity approaches you to collaborate in an application to fund doctoral research into the long-term effectiveness of its project. The charity reports that it has been involved in research previously and has found it beneficial. The methodology is discussed and agreed. The application is designed to go to a government funding body which provides match funding for collaborations between community organisations and universities. The charity expresses concern about the confidentiality of its service users and requests that "We would, however, want the research findings to be kept confidential except in so far as they are needed to fulfill the requirements for the degree." Subsequent investigation shows that while the charity refers to a strong research pedigree, findings have only been published in non peer-reviewed trade magazines or internal reports.

20 Is the purpose of your academic institution consistent with the stated purpose of the charity? At first glance it would appear that the charity has the laudable goal of assessing its effectiveness though independent research. desire to control dissemination (presumably in case of unfavourable findings) previous track record of publishing only in non peer-reviewed journals would suggest that its goal might not be excellence. What about the extent of the funding? In this example this is unlikely to be a major factor as the amount involved would be comparatively small. Is there relevant harm? Some harm in this case if the findings are unfavourable and the charity chooses not to disseminate the report. Charity providing ineffective treatment and using resources that might be better used elsewhere. Skewing the knowledge base through omission of negative findings. Will the researchers and university be identified with the evaluation? It is within the interest of the charity to point to the fact that the research was conducted independently. Finally, is the nature of the link between recipient and donor direct or indirect? It is indirect, so it may not involve a major conflict of interest, and there are no limitations on publication imposed by the funder. In this case, it would be possible for the researchers or the university to insist that the charity remove its right to control release of the data. If that were done, the PERIL analysis would suggest that the funding is worth pursuing. PERIL analysis

21 Summary Every individual, discipline, and funding organisation brings its own agenda to the research process. –conundrums associated with research funding are becoming increasingly complex –research plays a greater role in the regulation and marketing of potentially addictive products –Much greater pressure on academics to attract research funding Addiction scientists should be vigilant about any funding source –restrictions on the design, interpretation and publication of the resulting data –Consulting arrangements –Acceptance of fees for writing book chapters, –preparing background reports, –attending industry-organized conferences –writing letters to the editor Before accepting funding, addiction scientists should carefully consider: How much is the scientific activity designed to promote the interests of a particular industry? Will the funding source be acknowledged? Funding obtained from any source can be legitimate. Major issues to consider: –consistent with scientific and public health aims? –grant review process independent, transparent and peer reviewed? –the funding source does not impose rigid limits on the types of research to be conducted. Examine all funding sources using PERIL analysis (or similar framework)

22 Thank you References –Adams, P. J. (2007). Assessing whether to receive funding support from tobacco, alcohol, gambling and other dangerous consumption industries. Addiction, 102(7), –Edwards, G. (1993). Substance Misuse and the Uses of Science. In G. Edwards, J. Strang & J. H. Jaffe (Eds.), Drugs, Alcohol, and Tobacco: Making the Science and Policy Connections (pp. 3-16). Oxford: Oxford University Press. –Hall, W. (2006). Ensuring that addiction science is deserving of public trust. Addiction, 101(9), –International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (2005) Ethical Practice Guidelines in Addiction Publishing: (accessed 14 April 2006). –Miller, P., Moore, D., & Strang, J. (2006). The regulation of research by funding bodies: An emerging ethical issue for the alcohol and other drug sector. International Journal of Drug Policy, 17(1), –Room, R. (1993). The evolution of alcohol monopolies and their relevance for public health. Contemporary Drug Problems, 20(2), p


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