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Mens Sana Monogr. 2008 Jan;6(1):146-56. doi: 10.4103/0973-1229.37086.

Biomedical research and corporate interests: a question of academic freedom.

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Lecturer in Philosophy, California State University, Northridge, USA.


The current situation in medicine has been described as a crisis of credibility, as the profit motive of industry has taken control of clinical trials and the dissemination of data. Pharmaceutical companies maintain a stranglehold over the content of medical journals in three ways: (1) by ghostwriting articles that bias the results of clinical trials, (2) by the sheer economic power they exert on journals due to the purchase of drug advertisements and journal reprints, and (3) by the threat of legal action against those researchers who seek to correct the misrepresentation of study results. This paper argues that Karl Popper's critical rationalism provides a corrective to the failure of academic freedom in biomedical research.


Academic freedom; Biomedical research; Critical rationalism; Ghostwriting; Key opinion leaders; Pharmaceutical funding; Pharmaceutical industry

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