Ideally, all medical research would be objective. But what if researchers testing a new drug are paid by the drug’s manufacturer? What if they are stockholders or even partners in that company? Financial conflicts of interest have become more common in recent years, as industry has become more involved in research and medical education.
Drug and biotechnology companies now finance the majority of clinical trials, up from just 32% in 1980. Financial arrangements take many other forms, including company stock for individual scientists, licensing revenues, donation of funds and equipment to medical schools and hospitals, and positions of influence on advisory boards.