Thursday, September 25, 2008

International Tobacco Control List-Serve and Discussion Site Now Sponsored by Big Pharma

Globalink -an international tobacco control list-serve and discussion site - appears to now be sponsored by Pfizer. The logo for Pfizer appears on the Globalink main page, together with logos from other sponsors, including the UICC (International Union Against Cancer), the Rockefeller Foundation, and Sun Microsystems.

Globalink is a major forum for discussion of important tobacco control science and policy issues among international tobacco control practitioners. It includes thousands of professionals from all over the world (but not me, since I was kicked off because they didn't like what I was saying).

The Rest of the Story

This discovery is in line with my post from yesterday, which discussed the prostitution of the tobacco control movement through its close financial ties with the pharmaceutical industry and the loss of scientific integrity that has resulted. This is yet another example of an institutional conflict of interest. There is no way that one can expect an objective scientific debate over the best approach to smoking cessation on a discussion forum that is sponsored by a pharmaceutical company. More specifically, there is no way that one can expect an objective discussion of the merits of continuing to recommend Chantix on a forum that is sponsored by Pfizer.

It would be a different story if the discussion forum had nothing to do with smoking cessation strategies and the use of pharmaceuticals in smoking cessation. But that is one of the central areas of debate on the forum. Therefore, it is unthinkable that the directors of Globalink would sacrifice the integrity of the forum by accepting (or pursuing) sponsorship from Pfizer.

It seems quite clear that money is far more important than scientific integrity in tobacco control.

(Thanks to John Polito for the tip.)

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