Remember how appalled we felt as a society when we discovered that, for so long, we had been mistakenly taking Big Tobacco’s word that cigarettes are harmless? Rinse and repeat with lobbyists for Big Alcohol fear-mongering about legal weed. And again and again with a panoply of consumer-level commodities and goods.
Nowadays we have all these familiar worries, but about our drugs and medications instead. It’s become so bad that there’s now reason to believe Big Pharma is also colluding to poison the well of scientific inquiry.
The truth is, there are many examples of private industry paying for positive press from the scientific community. When you look closer at our spending priorities as a nation, it’s not entirely difficult to see why. As public funding for the sciences has fallen away, many scientists have had to pivot toward more consistent—and ethically fraught—sources of funding and stability as surely as politicians who, for want of public election funding, get buoyed by billionaires at $100,000-per-plate fundraising dinners.
We’ll take a look at case studies in a moment, but for right now, think about how important it is for us to be able to trust, at a minimum level, the products we invite into our bodies and our homes.
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