Tobacco Industry Manipulation of Research
Subject Area:Cultural Studies
Industries like the tobacco industry have formulated strategies that have aided in the manipulation of research to support their position. The industry using their power in the research domain has refuted research on active and secondhand smoking. They have manipulated the research to communicate risk in a way that minimizes harm and decreases unfavorable restrictions on their product. This compromises the independence of the researchers and also affects their credibility and integrity. To deal with this problem, researchers and other institutions should decline funding from the industry. drugs, medical devices and food available to the people are safe and effective. However, some industries do not perceive research as the bequest that it is but rather see it as a hindrance to their success.
One such company is the tobacco industry which for decades has been manipulating research findings to protect their selfish motives. This paper is going to analyze a case study “Tobacco Industry manipulation of Research”, highlight some of the key issues and discuss the available courses of action. Summary of the case In today’s world many people are only concerned about themselves and how they can maintain or improve their position and the tobacco industry is no different. The raw facts are hidden and the findings of the research reduce the probability of unfavorable restrictions and regulations. Funding the research had other benefits for the industry apart from manipulating the findings: it increased the firms’ credibility and provided good public relations.
In cases where the tobacco companies did not what to be directly linked to the funding of the research, lawyers are used. Lawyers select the projects to be funded and fund them through their law firms. They also disseminate the findings and also hire “consultants” to support the research (Bero, 2015). Although in many cases the research is promised independence, the industry interferes and edits the findings and even in some cases falsifies evidence (Barnes & Bero, 2003). If the manipulation of the research comes to light the research losses credibility and all his prior research are questioned. Those who do not agree with the position of the tobacco industry have their article discredited by hired consultants. This is a major issue because these consultants destroy the credibility of the research.
These criticisms are not backed up by any real data but rather use letters to the editor and cite them as peer reviewed journals. Research journals can also take a step that was taken by the BMJ to ban research partly or fully funded by the tobacco industry. BMJ implemented these policies in the wake of increasing claims and evidences that the industry had been manipulating scientific knowledge. Evidence that research funded by tobacco industry either withheld certain findings, promoted false evidence or presented findings in a misleading lead to BMJ decision (Gage, 2013). It is due time that other organization, institutions and even the government put such a policy in place. The other problem is that the tobacco industry hides its involvement in the research despite that they have more control over the design, conduct and distribution of the research than the actual researchers.
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