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Corporate Sponsorship Diverts Research and Distorts Public Policy, Report Finds

Industry influence and corporate sponsorship of academic research is getting in the way of real science, and too often skews government policy when it comes to important public health questions, according to findings published in the American Journal of Public Health. The influence spans several industries, from alcohol to tobacco to food, chemical, mining and pharmaceutical, The Guardian reports.

Investigators used Coca-Cola as just one example of how different industries use the same strategies to promote their products, distract scrutiny from any harms and drive public policies.

It’s a relief that finally some astute observers are pointing out how the world has been duped into believing that everything from sugar to GMOs to pesticides and herbicides to vaccines and more not only are safe for you, but good for public health. Over the years, I've written numerous articles outing industry front groups that work with these industries to spread the misinformation — and, sometimes, outright lies.

The Genetic Literacy Project, the American Council for Science and Health (ACSH), Science 2.0, GMO Answers, Independent Women's Forum, Science Codex, Center for Consumer Freedom and the Center for Inquiry are some of the major players. But no matter which group you choose to investigate, when you look behind the curtain, you’ll find an Oz of names appearing again and again, cowriting articles, interviewing each other and referring to each other's work in a closed loop.

I've also written about academics and journalists who, while presenting themselves as independent experts, are actually shills for industry. This is a fairly close-knit group of individuals, so the worst actors are not hard to identify based on their associations. Well-established actors include Forbes contributor Kavin Senapathy; Henry Miller; Steven Salzberg; Bruce Chassy, Jon Entine, Kevin Flota, Keith Floor and Mark Lynas.

As award-winning investigative journalist Sharyl Attkisson explains, the strategies these players use to manipulate public opinion policy is all the same. And, for years, it’s worked. As I explain in my five-part “Ghost in the Machine” series, I discuss the many ways in which big industries manipulate science, and how they've captured our regulatory agencies and manipulated our political system.

If you’d like to see these articles, or reread them, you can begin here with Part 1, “Drug Safety and Media Shaped by Big Pharma.” Then, you can move on to the others. As you read, I hope you’ll notice that when it comes to the vaccine industry and the biotech industry, that the use of legislation to preempt your rights and force you to use their products whether you want to or not, and without regard for the health consequences, is the prevailing theme.

I also would like to call attention to the fact that this week, through September 30, is our Vaccine Awareness Week. With aggressive efforts by pharmaceutical companies, medical trade groups and government to restrict or eliminate all personal belief vaccine exemptions in the U.S., it is critical for you to act now to protect your legal right to make informed, voluntary vaccine choices.

Thankfully, the nonprofit National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC) provides the public with independent, well-referenced information on vaccines and advocates for vaccine safety, and informed consent protections in the public health system.

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