Justinian C. Lane, Esq.
Let Justice Be Done, Though the Heavens May Fall

Justinian Lane's Blog

Justinian's Blog

Are Sponsored Scientific Studies More Likely To Be Biased?

In virtually every pharmaceutical lawsuit, the defendant manufacturer points to a study that it performed or paid for as proof that the product is safe or effective.  The plaintiff is forced to argue that the results of the study are unreliable because it was bought and paid for by the defendant.  The defendant of course recoils in horror at the implication that a corporate sponsorship can somehow taint a scientific study.

I wish I could share the deposition with you I’m reading, but I can’t.  Here’s what I can tell you:

An executive of a corporation is asked to comment upon a study that contradicts his company’s position on a certain issue.  He admits that his company was familiar with the study, but chose to disregard it because it was sponsored by a competing company and was thus likely to be pushing a position instead of presenting neutral science. 

Naturally, this executive defends his own company’s position later on in the deposition based upon studies his company performed.  Unfortunately, the lawyer didn’t call him on why his study should be seen as any more reliable than those of his competitors’.

I know that I take any studies performed by someone with a vested interest in the outcome with a grain of salt.  Any ideas if jurors distrust them too?