Are National Academy of Science panels fair & balanced?

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A new report from the Center for Science in the Public Interest questions the integrity of panels appointed by the National Academy of Sciences.

A CSPI news release reads, in part: "Congress created the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) to provide independent, science-based advice to policymakers in government. But according to a year-long review of 21 NAS committees conducted by the nonprofit Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), nearly one out of every five scientists appointed to an NAS panel has direct financial ties to companies or industry groups with a direct stake in the outcome of the study. And about half of the panels examined had some scientists with readily identifiable biases who were not offset by scientists with alternative points of view. ...

CSPI released its report the day of a panel discussion it organized in Washington where representatives from the FDA, industry groups, and academics debated conflict-of-interest issues on panels at federal agencies and the NAS.

Legislation that would bar scientists with financial ties to drug makers and medical-device companies from serving on FDA advisory committees, sponsored by Rep. Maurice Hinchey (D-NY), passed the House in May and will be considered by a conference committee in the fall."

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In the interest of full disclosure: I work for Environmental Working Group, a DC-based public health watchdog.

I attended the CSPI forum in DC yesterday and have summed up the arguments of the various panelists here on the Enviroblog:

http://www.enviroblog.org/2006/07/are_the_national_academies_fai_1.00htm#more

Definitely some spirited debate from a nicely "balanced" panel of six--none of whom sugar-coated their opinions about others in the room.


About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Gary Schwitzer published on July 24, 2006 7:38 AM.

Erosion of trust in medical journals was the previous entry in this blog.

FDA scientists asked to distort data is the next entry in this blog.

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