It is not unusual to see studies that claim that alcohol can be good for your health. However, the next time you see such a headline you might want to think it twice. Investigations done by Wired, Stat and The New York Times revealed a troubling truth: most alcohol studies are funded by alcohol companies.
The investigations revealed that these companies try to change the public perception when it comes to alcohol, which is truly worrisome. And it appears that many organisations even try to obtain that funding.
According to the stories, officials at the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) tried to obtain $100 million funds from alcohol executives for a study that was likely to show that moderate drinking is in fact safe and it can even help our health.
Making decisions when it comes to the research
It appears that alcohol executives are allowed to make important decisions when it comes to how the study will be conducted. There are allowed to preview the design of the trial and decide which scientists will be involved in the research according to The New York Times.
Stat presented a case of a study came up with some harsh results for the alcohol industry. The NIAA immediately cute the scientists off from funding and they were verbally abused by the officials as well. The Wired revealed that the NIAAA is completely dependent on the alcohol industry when it comes to completing the study.
Scientists are not that independent
Alcohol scientists claim that the funding does not influence the results of the studies. However, some studies revealed in the case of the food industry that researches funded by big companies were four to eight times more likely to conclude something beneficial for the sponsor.
Brad is a former Senior Fellow at the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism at Brandeis University, is an award-winning travel, culture, and parenting writer. His writing has appeared in many of the Canada’s most respected and credible publications, including the Toronto Star, CBC News and on the cover of Smithsonian Magazine. A meticulous researcher who’s not afraid to be controversial, he is nationally known as a journalist who opens people’s eyes to the realities behind accepted practices in the care of children. Brad is a contributing journalist to Advocator.ca