March 21, 2012

Conflicts of Interest in Vaccine Safety Research

Conflicts of Interest in Vaccine Safety Research

Accountability in Research. 19:65-88. 2012

Gayle DeLong, Department of Economics and Finance, Baruch College, New York,
New York, USA

Conflicts of interest (COls) cloud vaccine safety research. Sponsors of research have competing interests that may impede the objective study of vaccine side effects. Vaccine manufacturers, health officials, and medical journals may have financial and bureaucratic reasons for not wanting to acknowledge the risks of vaccines. Conversely, some advocacy groups may have legislative and financial reasons to sponsor research that finds risks in vaccines. Using the vaccine-autism debate as an illustration, this article details the conflicts of interest each of these groups faces, outlines the current state of vaccine safety research, and suggests remedies to address COls. Minimizing COls in vaccine safety research could reduce research bias and restore greater trust in the vaccine program.

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