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University does not have to release copies of contract with Boehringer Ingelheim Foundation, German court rules

BMJ 2016; 354 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.i5127 (Published 20 September 2016) Cite this as: BMJ 2016;354:i5127
  1. Ned Stafford
  1. Hamburg

A German court has ruled that the publicly funded Mainz University does not have to release copies of a cooperation contract the university signed with the Boehringer Ingelheim Foundation in return for €150m (£128m; $168m) in donations to fund medical research.

The ruling, issued on 14 September 2016 by the Administrative Court of Mainz, was in response to a lawsuit filed by Christian Kreiss, an advocate of transparency in research funding and professor of financing at Aalen University of Applied Science. Kreiss filed the lawsuit after the university denied his request to make a copy of the contract, which critics have dubbed a “secret contract” that they contend allows the foundation to influence “scientific freedom” at the university.

The …

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