TRD shownotes

The Recommended Dose podcast


Global authority on industry influence in science & former Cochrane Co-Chair

This week Ray catches up with Professor Lisa Bero - one of the world’s leading experts on industry influence on science. Her groundbreaking research continues to show how the tactics of big tobacco, big pharma and increasingly the food industry influence the decisions of health professionals and distort research findings. 

Lisa’s current work looks at how private companies are now influencing public health in areas like obesity. Late last year, it was discovered that her research was being secretly ‘monitored’ by Coca-Cola. Here she talks to Ray about this revelation and various attempts by both the tobacco and pharmaceutical industries to undermine her research over the years. While it has never hampered her work, she is concerned about the chilling effect these kinds of antics might have on younger researchers today.

Lisa also shares her thoughts on leaving California to become a fully-fledged, ocean-swimming Sydneysider, who finds daily inspiration in the story of Charles Perkins – the first Aboriginal graduate of The University of Sydney. She also reflects on her role heading up the global Cochrane research network and highlights the importance of health evidence that’s free from conflicts of interest or commercial influence of any kind.

Lisa in the media:

> Watch Lisa Bero on ABC News: Big Pharma paying nurses and allied health professionals millions

> Big pharma funding biases drug trials in favour of a sponsor’s product: review, The Sydney Morning Herald

> Drug companies pay doctors, nurses $9.5 million in six months for advice, event attendance, The Canberra Times

> How food companies can sneak bias into scientific research - Lisa Bero in the Conversation

> Sydney University study claims industry funding leads to bias in artificial sweetener research, The Sydney Morning Herald

> Big food and big nutrition lies, The Sydney Morning Herald

> Lisa Bero takes up residence, Cochrane Australia News

Other relevant research: 

> Lisa co-authored the latest Cochrane Review on Industry sponsorship and research outcome, which was published in February and includes 27 new studies and provides definitive evidence that pharmaceutical industry funding of drug studies biases results and conclusions to look favourable towards the drug of the sponsor.

> Lisa is a co-author of The Cigarette Papers - a collection of documents published in 1996 that played a key role in litigation of tobacco companies and has been called the Pentagon Papers of tobacco’

> Lisa and Ray, who are occasional collaborators, are both co-authors on a recent study of more than 100 000 industry funded wining and dining events for health professionals published in The BMJ