Ethics on the Corporate Payroll

Image: Erica P. Johnson The Midwest Bioethics Center in Kansas City, Mo., runs a modest operation, so its officials rejoiced when they received $600,000 (US) from Bridgewater, NJ-based Aventis Pharmaceuticals. The grant will almost entirely fund a study on research integrity, and the center will host a conference on integrity in biomedical research in 2003 to culminate the work. "It's the best example of altruism," says Myra Christopher, president and CEO of MBC, which receives just $2 million

Hal Cohen
Jul 21, 2002
Image: Erica P. Johnson

The Midwest Bioethics Center in Kansas City, Mo., runs a modest operation, so its officials rejoiced when they received $600,000 (US) from Bridgewater, NJ-based Aventis Pharmaceuticals. The grant will almost entirely fund a study on research integrity, and the center will host a conference on integrity in biomedical research in 2003 to culminate the work. "It's the best example of altruism," says Myra Christopher, president and CEO of MBC, which receives just $2 million in private donations each year.

But some worry that bioethicists who accept such funding become puppets to the companies that subsidize their institutions. The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) recently sent letters to more than 125 bioethics institutions and journals asking them to disclose their financial relationships, especially those with private industry. "There is a question as to what bioethics institutions and journals are doing to make sure...

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