Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Data Access and Data Quality laws serve tobacco strategy

Annamaria Baba and three co-authors, Legislating "Sound Science": The Role of the Tobacco Industry, American Journal of Public Health, July 2005. Only this abstract is free online, at least so far: 'In the late 1990s, in an effort to dispute the link between secondhand smoke and lung cancer, Philip Morris initiated a campaign to legislate "sound science." The campaign involved enacting data access and data quality laws to obtain previously confidential research data in order to reanalyze it based on industry-generated data quality standards. Philip Morris worked with other corporate interests to form coalitions and workgroups, develop a "data integrity" outreach program, sponsor symposia on "research integrity," and draft language for the new acts. The tobacco industry played a role in establishing laws that increase corporate influence on public health and regulatory policy decisions.'

Also see this summary: Wallace Ravven, Unprecedented industry-backed laws limit public safety, study shows, Medical News Today, July 22, 2005. Excerpt: 'Two laws recently passed by Congress with strong industry backing have had a chilling effect on government efforts to protect public health, according to a UCSF study. The laws make all raw data produced by federally funded research available for public review, and require that any data disseminated by the government adhere to definitions of quality set by the law - definitions that industry interests helped develop. The new laws allow industry advocates to more easily challenge or stall government scientific research and weaken proposed regulations that affect them, the UCSF researchers assert. Yet at the same time, research by industry faces no such high standard, and as a result, pharmaceutical, tobacco and other industries can make claims that are harder to challenge than the government's research-based standards, says Lisa Bero, senior author of the study and professor of clinical pharmacy and health policy at UCSF. Bero and her colleagues urge passage of new laws to increase public access to industry-sponsored science - at least to the same level as government-funded research....The two laws in question are the Data Access Act, passed in 1998, requiring for the first time that all raw data produced under federally funded research studies be publicly available, and the Data Quality Act of 2001, requiring that government-disseminated data adheres to standards established by the law.'

PS: Also see my article on the Data Qualitiy Act from April 2002.