NIH Alcohol Consumption Research Project Might Have Been Compromised

Research

The New York Time recently published an article reporting that lead researchers on a $100 million study of the effects of moderate alcohol consumption had extensive discussions with the alcohol industry prior to securing their sponsorship. The article noted that scientists and officials from the National Institute of Health (NIH) undertook a campaign to “obtain funding from the alcohol industry for research that may enshrine alcohol as a part of a healthy diet.” A few days later, the New York Times followed up its initial story by reporting that NIH is now investigating “whether health officials violated federal policy against soliciting donations when they met with alcohol companies to discuss funding a study of the benefits of moderate drinking.” The Times reports that Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D, NIH Director will assemble a group of outside experts to “review the design and scientific methodology of the 10-year government trial, which is...

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Why the Alcohol Industry and Public Health are not on the Same Team

At-the-bar

Can the alcohol industry genuinely care about the health of its customers when its primary business objective is to gain revenue from one of the most harmful substances and when most profits are made off of people with drinking problems? There is blatant hypocrisy when the alcohol industry invests in public health. The goals of public health initiatives are to promote healthy behaviors and prevent disease in communities. In contrast, the goals of the alcohol industry are to maximize its consumer base, sales, and profits by recruiting new customers and maintaining existing customers, particularly those who drink regularly and heavily. Historically, the alcohol industry has funded educational/training programs and promotional and advertising campaigns that promote “safe” levels of drinking. Although the purported goal of these initiatives is to protect the health and safety of customers and the larger public, there is strong reason to believe that the real aim is to...

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