Magazine article The Times Higher Education Supplement : THE

Posthumous Criticism of Cancer Researcher's Links

Magazine article The Times Higher Education Supplement : THE

Posthumous Criticism of Cancer Researcher's Links

Article excerpt

The reputation of a leading American public health researcher has come under fire just weeks after her death.

Patricia Buffler, Kenneth and Marjorie Kaiser chair in cancer epidemiology at the University of California, Berkeley, died on 26 September, and was lauded in her obituaries as a leading expert on childhood cancer.

Now, in an article published online last month, questions have been raised about her involvement with big business.

The Center for Public Integrity, a US-based investigative journalism organisation, claims in the article that Professor Buffler was paid more than $360,000 (Pounds 220,000) to work as an expert witness on behalf of companies that used to sell lead-based paint.

In another potential conflict of interest, the article alleges that "even as Buffler led research into whether pesticides and herbicides may cause leukemia, she served for 17 years on the board of directors of a $3 billion pesticide and herbicide company, FMC Corp".

It adds: "A review of public records shows that in publishing her results in scientific journals or in applying for government funding from the National Institutes of Health, Buffler did not disclose that she owned stock in FMC or served as one of its directors. …

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