Ten years ago, I worked in the United States Senate and helped draft and pass the Physician Payments Sunshine Act. The law requires companies to report monies and gifts they give physicians, which are known to influence what doctors prescribe or promote. Thanks to the Sunshine Act, you can look up doctors on a public database to see who is paying them and how much. Several other countries have passed or are considering similar laws.
Nothing similar exists in other disciplines like plant biology, climate science, or toxicology. We need a “sunshine law” for science that would expose all sorts of conflicts of interest and industry manipulation that skew research on food, synthetic chemicals, pesticides, air pollution, genetic technology, and the climate.
Since the 1990s, tobacco and the industries allied with it, such as the food, chemical, and fossil fuel sectors, have worked especially hard to influence a field called risk analysis, which determines whether products cause harm. The agri-chemical giant Monsanto has been accused in recent years of manipulating employees at the Environmental Protection Agency on the dangers of glyphosate; petrochemical companies publis... Read more