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Understanding the Benefits and Risks of Pharmaceuticals: Workshop Summary
resentatives or consultants in various programs. When not serving in that capacity, however, she shares the frustration of other members of the public with respect to not being able to access materials until about 24 hours before the meeting and having such a limited amount of time for preparing comments.
Dr. Goldman further suggested that there be more public funding for pharmaceutical research, so that researchers have more options in addition to working with industry. This prompted some discussion about where the funding would come from, given that within academia there is no other clear path of advancement for pharmacological researchers. (NIH funding is the main path, but pharmacological researchers generally do not pursue it.) One participant remarked that there is really no such thing as an independent source of funding and that the challenge is to create diversity in funding sources.
Dr. Leiden argued that it is precisely these complex interactions between academicians, industry and to some extent regulators that are the reason for the success of the biomedical enterprise in the United States. If we are not careful in how we handle conflict of interest, in our attempts to untangle it, we may severely damage the system. He stated that the best evidence for this is that it wasn’t until the Bayh–Dole Act of 1980 stimulated the translation of basic scientific discoveries in academia to applications in industry that the U.S. biotechnology industry emerged. Dr. Leiden mentioned a recent article reporting that there has not been a single case of research fraud caused by these financial conflicts of interest between industry and academia (Stossel 2005).