New Rochelle, NY, July 8, 2013—With increasing numbers of academic scientists working in collaborative arrangements with pharma and biotech firms, the need for transparency in such relationships is now greater than ever, notes Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News (GEN). At stake is the public’s trust in the scientific/medical establishment as well as a strong sense of confidence in what’s being published in scientific journals, according to GEN.

“If scientists do not clearly disclose the financial support they are receiving from the pharma industry, how are we to be truly comfortable with anything these researchers publish in a scientific journal?” asks John Sterling, editor in chief of GEN. “And what are we to make of a company’s product claims as a result of these alliances?”

Sterling added that he is not endorsing any kind of ban on such monetary support, but “I do believe it makes a heck of a lot of sense to let everyone know what’s on the table.” While great strides have been made in the move toward greater transparency, he along with other industry observers think that a stronger watchdog role needs to be put in place to avoid conflict-of-interest violations.

And, as others have also suggested, pharma companies might be wise to make clinical trial safety data available to the public as early as possible. Such actions might eventually lead to safer and more effective drugs.

“Drug reform activists say, and I believe they are onto something, that if more clinical trial information had been released earlier a number of the problems involving Vioxx, Avandia, and Paxil, for example, might have been spotted and serious adverse events avoided,” said Sterling.

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