Private corporations have been funding university research for decades now. During the last 30 years, corporate funding has risen 250 percent to about $2.4 billion. This allows too much room for corporate direction of what subject matter scientists are researching. But there’s a deeper and more sinister story behind the relationship between corporations and research scientists.
While the corporations feed some research facilities with one hand and have their other hand behind their back. And clinched tightly in that hidden hand is a heavy club with which corporations will beat any group that subverts from its goals, even if the subversion is for the pure pursuit of greater knowledge through science.
A new group called the Center for Science and Democracy is now giving scientists a platform on which to stand when it comes to corporate intimidation. Dr. Andrew Rosenberg, director of the center, put the spotlight on mega-corporations on The Raw Story.
Rosenberg reveals that bigwig corporations use tactics such as intimidation and substantial monetary backing to stay under the radar with their sneaky ways. Scientists, who were once self-sufficient before the sequester cuts, now have to search for funding and some turning to corporations for monetary support. This allows corporations to encourage their desired results from the research studies they fund. Greedy corporations will challenge any scientific evidence that undermines a product of theirs, and some will will go as far as using threatening legal action to get their way.
These corporations have dumped a reported $700 million in lobbying funds on behalf of pharmaceutical and medical devices. In addition, mega-corporations have also been known to create health industry groups that portray a consumer-friendly image, with the groups actually being funded by the money-hungry industry itself. Corporations want to easily gain consumer trust to sway them into using controversial products.
Regardless, some corporations will always be greedy and will continue to put controversial products in the market. However, the arm-twisting by these industries needs to be stopped, as their ways hinder the efficiency of crucial federal science-based decisions.
The silence is finally being broken and scientists are taking a stand, using groups like Rosenberg’s as a vehicle for their voice to be heard. The group aims to create an abuse-free scientific community by encouraging universal scientific integrity within corporate research.
Krysta Loera is a writer and researcher with Ring of Fire. Follow her on Twitter @KrystaLoera