Conflicts of interest in research is one of the fundamental tropes of people who seek to diminish the value of biomedical research, even if the research is peer-reviewed and is published in a highly respected journal.
The vaccine deniers try to dismiss all medical research that has even the appearance of conflict of interest.
From my point of view – yes, we should examine research with a conflict of interest, especially in medical research, more carefully. But, as I’ve said a hundred times, it’s not one article that matters, it’s the body of work. Science is based on evidence that is analyzed, critiqued and, most importantly, repeated – repeatedly.
In the world of vaccines (including that annoying and loud anti-vaccine fringe group), one of the recurrent themes is that immunizations cause autism, and any research that disputes that belief is biased and/or supported by Big Pharma. That is the definition of conflicts of interest in research – this is repeated so often, sometimes I believe it.
But then I get back to reality and know that the scientific consensus, repeatedly repeated, supports the fact that there is no evidence that autism is related to vaccines or is caused by vaccines. Continue reading “Vaccines and autism – conflicts of interest in research”