Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

UC tobacco cash is dirty money

March 30, 2007

Re "Tobacco funding of research reviewed," March 28

It appears to me that UCLA is simply trying to sweep this controversy under the rug. The tobacco industry deliberately deceived the world for decades for its own profit and took with it our grandparents, parents, brothers, sisters and friends, who died slow, painful deaths. We need scientific facts to counter what this industry has done to our society, not facts clouded by who is writing the checks. UCLA should get rid of epidemiologist James Enstrom; he can go to work directly for Philip Morris -- I hear they pay very well.

SUZETTE JANOFF

Scottsdale

*

Enstrom argues that there is no reason to restrict research funding from the tobacco industry because the peer review process safeguards scientific integrity. This represents an unfortunate misunderstanding of what peer review can deliver.

Reviewers typically have access only to information the author presents in the manuscript. Important logistical and methodological decisions made along the way will be unknown, as will other key details that the authors might omit -- including potential motivations for biased conclusions. Peer review is a necessary but far from sufficient process for screening out work of questionable integrity. I hope the regents will acknowledge that limitation before making their final decision.

NORMAN A.

CONSTANTINE

Berkeley

The writer is a clinical professor at UC Berkeley's School of Public Health.

*

The issue here is really not about Enstrom. Enstrom's experience simply demonstrates how the reputation of the University of California will continue to be compromised until it passes a policy to reject tobacco industry funding. The tobacco industry has a singular desire for profits and thus funds UC research for three reasons: to gain credibility by partnership with a stellar educational institution; to influence research to create controversy and confusion about tobacco, and to hide research showing the negative aspects of tobacco -- all to sell more tobacco. As a UC student, I applaud Regent John Moores for supporting a policy to protect the reputation of my school.

MOLLY WARD

Berkeley

The writer, a student at UC Berkeley, is co-president of Butt Out! UC, a smoking prevention advocacy group.

*

What hypocrisy. A few months ago, faculty physicians at prestigious California universities admonished their students for accepting free lunches and trinkets from pharmaceutical companies. Now we learn that faculty at UC campuses have taken millions in research dollars from the tobacco industry. It is time for the UC regents to understand that there is a fundamental and profound ethical distinction between potential conflicts of financial interest involving corporations -- like drug companies, which act in the best interests of our citizens most of the time -- and financial conflicts involving tobacco companies, which almost always act contrary to the public interest and the public health.

FREDERIC W.

GRANNIS JR.

Long Beach

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|