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October 20, 1999

Conflict of Interest and Cost-effectiveness Analysis

JAMA. 1999;282(15):1474-1475. doi:10.1001/jama.282.15.1474

More than 30 years ago, Bronowski, who spoke so poetically about the ethos of science, wrote that "the body of scientists is trained to avoid and organized to resist every form of persuasion but the fact."1 The values of science, he argued, are "inescapable conditions for its practice."1 But the practice of science, especially the biomedical sciences, has changed significantly since Bronowski made his observations. Increasingly, academic biomedicine has become commingled with corporate interests. Spurred by the burgeoning commercial opportunities of new discoveries such as those in genetics, the growth in academic-industry collaborations has created uneasiness among some observers who suspect that conditions beyond the pure facts of science can influence its outcome.