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$100m alcohol study is cancelled amid pro-industry “bias”

BMJ 2018; 361 doi: (Published 19 June 2018) Cite this as: BMJ 2018;361:k2689
  1. Owen Dyer
  1. Montreal

The US National Institutes of Health (NIH) has cancelled its $100m (£76m; €87m) prospective study into the health effects of moderate drinking, after an internal investigation found that government scientists seeking to win alcohol industry funding for the research had told executives that the study could offer the “level of evidence necessary if alcohol is to be recommended as part of a healthy diet.”

The NIH investigation report concluded, “Interactions among several NIAAA [National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism] staff and industry representatives appear to intentionally bias the framing of the scientific premise in the direction of demonstrating a beneficial health effect of moderate alcohol consumption.”1

The Moderate Alcohol and Cardiovascular Health (MACH 15) trial was due to recruit 7800 participants and randomly assign them to moderate drinking (one drink a day) or no drinking. It was run by the NIAAA, an NIH agency.

But the ambitious …

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