Thursday, June 12, 2008

Researchers Fail to Disclose Funding Sources

Inside Higher Ed and the NY Times reported that Senator Charles Grassley, a critic of the pharmaceutical industry’s potential to skew research, released evidence that child psychiatrists at Harvard University failed to disclose income received from drug companies over the past eight years. Their failure to disclose this income has many questioning the validity of their research, which has been used to support the use of antipsychotic drugs for bipolar children. Grassley has introduced legislation, the Physician Payments Sunshine Act, which would require pharmaceutical companies and medical device manufacturers to report all contributions made to medical doctors.

The AAA strongly urges all anthropologists to follow the Association’s code of ethics in order to avoid such conflicts of interest and fulfill ethical obligations to the people and communities studied: “In both proposing and carrying out research, anthropological researchers must be open about the purpose(s), potential impacts, and source(s) of support for research projects with funders, colleagues, persons studied or providing information, and with relevant parties affected by the research.”