Science  22 Dec 2006:
Vol. 314, Issue 5807, pp. 1847b
DOI: 10.1126/science.314.5807.1847b

DOLL UNDER ATTACK. The late Oxford University epidemiologist Richard Doll, whose work in the 1950s helped demonstrate that smoking causes lung cancer, received consultancy fees from chemical companies whose products he was evaluating, according to recent revelations. Relying on documents Doll donated to the Wellcome Trust's library in London, the Guardian newspaper reported earlier this month that the scientist received up to $1500 per day from Monsanto during the 1980s and nearly $30,000 from the Chemical Manufacturers Association and two chemical companies for a report that largely cleared vinyl chloride as a cancer agent.


The heads of the Medical Research Council and the Royal Society, among others, have rushed to the defense of Doll, who died last year. They say there's no evidence that the payments compromised his research. But Richard Horton, editor of The Lancet and an outspoken advocate of high ethical standards, labels their response a “defensive overreaction,” adding that potential conflicts of interest should be disclosed even if they did not violate the standards of the day.

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