German scientists asked to drop tobacco funds

Funding recipients insist they're above board

Ned Stafford
Jan 2, 2006
The lead author of a study alleging that the tobacco industry "enjoys a staggering amount of influence" among leading German scientists has called on scientific institutions, universities, and other research organizations in Germany to ban researchers from accepting tobacco industry money. However, scientists who accepted tobacco funds argue that the money had no influence on their work.The study, recently published in the American Journal of Public Health, focuses on tobacco industry funding from the 1970s through the 1990s. Lead author Thilo Grüning, visiting research fellow at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, told The Scientist that he believes the tobacco industry is still funding scientists, a practice he describes as a "white coat strategy" designed to gain influence with influential people. "Scientists that take money from the tobacco industry lose their independence, and this always creates biased and distorted science," he said.Martina Pötschke-Langer, head of the German Cancer...

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