Intended for healthcare professionals

Observations Lobby Watch

The Social Issues Research Centre

BMJ 2010; 340 doi: (Published 03 March 2010) Cite this as: BMJ 2010;340:c484
  1. David Miller, professor of sociology1,
  2. Marisa De Andrade, doctoral candidate1, visiting affiliate2
  1. 1Department of Geography and Sociology, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow G1 1XN
  2. 2University of California, Los Angeles
  1. Correspondence to: D Miller davidmiller{at}

    The Social Issues Research Centre (SIRC) is an “independent, non-profit organisation”1 that says it carries out “balanced, calm and thoughtful”2 research on lifestyle issues such as drinking, diet, and pharmaceuticals. However, it may be perceived that the company acts more like a public relations agency for the corporations that fund its activities. These include Diageo, Flora, Coca-Cola, GlaxoSmithKline, and Roche, among others.3 Although SIRC does publish this partial list of funders, it is not immediately apparent which company has sponsored which study. And in some instances this information is not included in media reports.4

    SIRC has produced guidelines for journalists on the reporting of science and health issues,5 but the guidelines include little on transparency or avoiding conflicts of interest.6 SIRC is not always transparent about its own funding. For example, it was commissioned by HRT Aware to produce a report that concluded that “well-informed women” taking hormone replacement therapy are “benefiting” and feeling happier, healthier, …

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