As the Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco (SRNT) prepares for its annual meeting, which will be held next month here in Boston, it is becoming apparent that this supposedly objective scientific conference will be a scientific farce, devoid of objectivity.
Why? Because the Society, according to its web site, is still sponsored by three Big Pharma companies that manufacture drugs used for smoking cessation: Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, and GlaxoSmithKline.
According to its web site, one of SRNT's basic values is: "Commitment to the promotion of excellence in science."
But how can the Society promote excellence in science when it is funded by pharmaceutical companies that manufacture smoking cessation drugs, thus creating a conflict of interest that establishes an inherent bias in the Society's considering of the scientific and policy issues related to smoking cessation.
Another of SRNT's stated values is: "Transparency, integrity, and honesty."
But how can SRNT claim a commitment to transparency, integrity, and honesty when its web page announcing the 2013 annual meeting fails to disclose any Big Pharma conflicts of interest and fails to notify attendees that the conference is supported by pharmaceutical companies? The preliminary program also fails to mention this funding.
The program also fails to disclose that a large number of the scientists presenting at the conference have personal financial conflicts of interest with Big Pharma.
Its pharmaceutical sponsorships create an
unavoidable bias that precludes a truly objective consideration of any
scientific issue that may have significant implications for the
profitability of smoking cessation drugs, and therefore, for their
manufacturers, who are SRNT sponsors. There is no way that the conference can objectively consider the role of
pharmaceutical smoking cessation products as part of a broad, national
strategy for smoking cessation when the Society, and thus the conference, is being funded by
the very manufacturers of many of those products.