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Corporate Funding By Cigarette Company Taints Lung Cancer Study

April 19th, 2008 · No Comments

cigarette buttsCorporate financing can have subtle effects on research and lead to bias. Studies have shown that sponsored research tends to reach conclusions that favor the sponsor, which is why disclosure is encouraged. The tobacco industry has a long history of underwriting research, sometimes through independent-sounding foundations, to make cigarettes seem less dangerous.

In October 2006, Dr. Claudia Henschke of Weill Cornell Medical College jolted the cancer world with a study saying that 80 percent of lung cancer deaths could be prevented through widespread use of CT scans.

Small print at the end of the study, published in The New England Journal of Medicine, noted that it had been financed in part by a little-known charity called the Foundation for Lung Cancer: Early Detection, Prevention & Treatment. A review of tax records by The New York Times shows that the foundation was underwritten almost entirely by $3.6 million in grants from the parent company of the Liggett Group, maker of Liggett Select, Eve, Grand Prix, Quest and Pyramid cigarette brands.

Only recently did prominent cancer researchers learn of the association. Critics are now questioning the validity of the study, including its survival projections and its assumption that all lung cancer patients who were diagnosed by screening would have died without it.

Whatever research you read, make sure you know who sponsored the study.

More information about the research:

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