April 25, 2018 – Alcohol Use


Anchor lead: Should the NIH be involved in alcohol use research funded by the industry? Elizabeth Tracey reports

The alcohol industry is largely funding National Institutes of Health research on the impact of alcohol consumption on heart health, which many news reports have called into question as a conflict of interest. Seth Martin, a cardiologist at Johns Hopkins, comments.

Martin: As a physician it’s a little difficult to recommend for or against alcohol. We tend to say if someone doesn’t have a history of alcoholism in themselves or their family it could be reasonable to have a moderate amount of alcohol. When it comes to funding the key here is to have a buffer, such that the study is designed in a way that regardless of where the money is coming from there’s independent unbiased scientists who are managing the data and who are analyzing the data.   :30

Martin says such funding issues commonly arise when pharmaceutical companies provide monies for research utilizing their drugs, and that creating such a buffer between scientists and industry works. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.