Ethics

A Stand for Scientific Independence

Editors at the world's most prominent medical journals, alarmed that drug companies are exercising too much control over research results, have agreed to adopt a uniform policy that reserves the right to refuse to publish drug company-sponsored studies unless the researchers involved are guaranteed scientific independence. The journal editors decided to act after several recent cases involving charges that drug companies tried to withhold research results or present them in the most favorable way.

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Buy News Content Like Ad Space

Media Relations, a Minneapolis-based PR firm, tells potential clients, "The media is separated into two categories. One is content and the other is advertising. They're both for sale." In a press release sent to media watch-dog group Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting, the firm explains that one can now buy news articles for less money than advertisements. That's because unlike other PR firms, Media Relations only charges clients for stories that get picked up by media. According to the firm's website, "Normally clients spend between $3,000 and $50,000 per month with us."

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Magazines Offer Extra Services to Advertisers

Magazines are offering more to advertisers than just ad space. "Integrated marketing" increasingly is being used by large publishers to draw in corporate advertisers. The Wall Street Journal reports that AOL Time Warner's Mutual Funds magazine offers marketing services at an additional charge to those who buy ad space.

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Scientists Don't Disclose Conflicts of Interest

Less than one percent of the 60,000 articles published during 1997 in 181 peer-reviewed science and medical journals with conflict of interest policies contained any disclosure of the authors' personal financial interests, according to a study by professors Sheldon Krimsky and L.S. Rosenberg which was published in the April 2001 issue of Science and Engineering Ethics.

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Uninformed Consent: What Patients at "The Hutch" Weren't Told About the Experiments in Which They Died

Fresh on the heels of the Jesse Gelsinger gene therapy scandal, this report documents another case in which the biotechnology industry has experimented on humans without their consent. Patients died prematurely in two failed clinical trials at Seattle's Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center -- experiments in which the Center and its doctors had a financial interest. The patients and their families were never told about those connections, nor were they fully and properly informed about the risks of the experiments.

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Honor Among Thieves

Margery Kraus of APCO Worldwide has been named "International PR Professional of the Year" by PR Week magazine - a fitting honor to a woman whose company specializes in the worst sleaze the industry produces -- from helping the tobacco industry promote "sound science" to orchestrating a phony "grassroots" campaign for "tort reform" as a way of making it hard

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Rain Dance: Mississippi's Choctaw Indians Find An Unlikely Ally In a GOP Stalwart

Lobbyist Jack Abramoff sets up and funds coalitions of conservative organizations that then work to push the agendas of his clients. Gambling, sweatshops, you name it and he represents them in Washington.

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