Covid-19/

Conflict of interest in H1N1 swine flu pandemic

Read time: 2 mins

From the TELLME website

Scientists interviewed by the media are not necessarily independent. During 2009 swine flu pandemic, the responsibility for publicly inflating the risk fell less on authorities than on experts whose link with pharmaceutical industry were often undisclosed; it is thus necessary for all academics to declare any potential conflict of interests and for journalists to explore further and report such cases, since undisclosed conflict of interests degrades public confidence in medical research, to the detriment of the whole scientific community.

These are the striking conclusions of a group of researchers from different UK scientific institutions, who published on the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health the results of a research they carried out on UK newspaper print coverage of the H1N1 swine flu pandemic in 2009.

They scrutinized 425 articles from different sources – Daily, Sunday, tabloid, middle market, and EET publications on both sides of the political spectrum – to assess the extent of competing interests among sources quoted on the topic in the period between April and July 2009, when major decisions about public health response to the emerging threat have been made.

They found out that risk assessments made by academics with some competing interests – such as grants, honoraria, speakers’ fees, consultancies, advisory roles, employment, and directorship/stock ownership – were almost six times as likely to be higher than those from official agencies, compared with risk assessments made by academics without any industry links. Also, only three articles out of the 425 mentioned that the quoted academic had a potential competing interest.

They concluded that academics with links to the pharmaceutical industry were more likely to talk up the risks of the swine flu pandemic in the media and promote the use of drugs than those without these ties.

Articoli correlati

Aiuta Scienza in Rete a crescere. Il lavoro della redazione, soprattutto in questi momenti di emergenza, è enorme. Attualmente il giornale è interamente sostenuto dall'Editore Zadig, che non ricava alcun utile da questa attività, se non il piacere di fare giornalismo scientifico rigoroso, tempestivo e indipendente. Con il tuo contributo possiamo garantire un futuro a Scienza in Rete.

E' possibile inviare i contributi attraverso Paypal cliccando sul pulsante qui sopra. Questa forma di pagamento è garantita da Paypal.

Oppure attraverso bonifico bancario (IBAN: IT78X0311101614000000002939 intestato a Zadig srl - UBI SCPA - Agenzia di Milano, Piazzale Susa 2)

altri articoli

Gender inequality: la triste realtà dell’economia cinese

Mentre USA, Giappone e Unione Europea negli ultimi anni hanno cercato di colmare il divario occupazionale tra uomini e donne, il mercato cinese sembrerebbe essere andato in direzione completamente opposta. E lo fa proprio in un momento in cui si assiste a un cambiamento demografico epocale, con una più alta età media della popolazione e una decrescita della forza lavoro cinese, causata da minori tassi di natalità - un momento nel quale l’uguaglianza di genere potrebbe dare nuova linfa all’economia.
Crediti immagine: aitoff/Pixabay. Licenza: Pixabay License

Kofi Annan sosteneva che “la globalizzazione ormai è un dato di fatto, ma penso che abbiamo tutti sottostimato la sua fragilità”.