Big Pharma Sickens Universities

It's too easy for drug companies to skirt lax academic regulations
By Drew Nelles,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 22, 2008 6:07 PM CDT
Regulations should be tighter to ensure professors disclose payments from Big Pharma, Dan Greenberg writes.    ((c)
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(Newser) – Weak legislation allows professors to collect huge under-the-table payments from Big Pharma, and it’s time to fight back, Dan Greenberg writes in the Chronicle of Higher Education. Pharmaceutical companies pay professors to shill drugs and lend their names to industry research, and the only oversight is an honor-system mechanism requiring profs to report outside income to the university—not to a federal agency.

Payment scandals like one recently uncovered at Harvard could be avoided by requiring professors to report to a public database, Greenberg argues, and university communities should whip up a frenzy whenever illicit dealings are revealed. “Relatively few in an academic community share the loot, but all lose something when their institution is tainted by squalid dealings,” he writes.