06/03/2005 02:28 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Dollars Influence Research

Vaccines are in the news this week. A new pertussis (whooping cough) booster for teens and adults was studied and the results were published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Not only did JAMA publish this study, but they gave it “early release” to the press to draw more attention to it.

Now, I actually believe that the vaccine studied probably works well and that the side effects may not be bad enough to cause a lot of harm.

I believe that University of Rochester's Michael Pichichero, MD., the lead author of the study is an honest man.

But, the study borders on being worthless because:

“Dr Pichichero is conducting vaccine trials sponsored by Pasteur Merieux Connaught, Biocine, SmithKline Beecham, and Wyeth Lederle Vaccines. He is a consultant for Pasteur Merieux Connaught and SmithKline Beecham and is receiving research funds from SmithKline Beecham. He gives lectures sponsored by Pasteur Merieux Connaught.”

This according to a disclosure statement from a previous article.

And, from WebMD:

"Pichichero's study was sponsored by Aventis Pasteur, which is now Sanofi Pasteur.”

And, JAMA is dependent on ads from these same drug manufacturers.

Decent new drug? Good medical journal? Honest researcher?

I think so.

But the appearance of impropriety is strong enough to make me ignore the study. You should, too.