CDC “Disclaimers” Hide Financial Conflicts of Interest

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From Lown Institute: “If you browse the website for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), you will soon find the CDC ‘disclosure’ statement:

‘CDC, our planners, content experts, and their spouses/partners wish to disclose they have no financial interests or other relationships with the manufacturers of commercial products, suppliers of commercial services, or commercial supporters. Planners have reviewed content to ensure there is no bias. CDC does not accept commercial support.’

Despite the claim that ‘CDC does not accept commercial support,’ this agency does indeed have financial ties to industry organizations, through their government-charted foundation. Congress has created foundations for many government organizations, including the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), National Institutes of Health (NIH), and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), to supplement the agencies’ funding for specific projects and encourage more public-private partnerships.

In a recently-released petition to the CDC, several watchdog groups including Public Citizen, the Project on Government Oversight, and U.S. Right to Know, are demanding that the CDC be transparent about the industry funding they receive through their foundation . . .

Disclosing these conflicts is the first step toward a clearer separation between government agencies meant to serve the public interest and industry companies. The next should be demanding that public agencies not accept any industry funding through their foundations. ‘The foundations exist at least in part because they allow industries to directly fund and thus control the work of agencies that are either supposed to regulate them, or conduct research that can help or hurt their business,’ said Lown Institute Senior Vice President Shannon Brownlee.”

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