Regulatory Watchdogs

Center for Regulatory Effectiveness

Greenpeace International
Public Citizen
Sierra Club

Center for Auto Safety
Center for Science in the Public Interest
Clean Air Trust
Corporate Library
Environmental Defense
Environmental Media Services
FM Watch
Friends of the Earth
PR Watch
U.S. Public Interest Research Groups


Unethical Ethics Restrictions
Is providing millions of dollars a year in unrestricted biomedical research grants unethical. No according to the many researchers which have been allowed to pursue innovative research. Yes according to the regulatory ethics watchdogs fearful of corporate support for medical research.

For almost 30 years, Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS) has funded the Freedom to Discover program which supports about 50 scientists a year. The BMS program was described by Science magazine as "the largest corporate-funded, unrestricted research grants program in the world." Grant winners receive $100,000 per year for five years. Furthermore, as Science explains, "BMS makes no claim to any of the findings."

A neuroscientist at Johns Hopkins University described the program's flexibility allowing scientists to pursue their hunches as "extremely rare."

Unfortunately, BMS has been pressured to cancel the Freedom to Discover program. A BMS official stated that "an increase in compliance regulations affecting the global pharmaceutical industry" was a factor leading to the program's demise. Some grant winners explained that they had been informed that BMS was concerned that "the company could run afoul of new, restrictive regulations in Europe on corporate gifts to physicians."

Winston asks who has demonstrated real ethics; the company that has provided millions of dollars a year in unrestricted medical research grants, or the regulators restricting the grant program out of existence?

  • Click here for Science article


    CRE Homepage