Study Reveals Shocking Details About Leading Alcohol Research Funder’s Relationship with the Alcohol IndustryPosted February 20 2023
In 2018, a $100 million clinical trial on how ‘moderate’ alcohol use affects health was cancelled in the US. This was because it was found to be biased towards producing findings that small amounts of alcohol have health benefits. The trial was paid for by both the alcohol industry and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), the self-described largest funder of alcohol research globally.
NIAAA leaders have had extensive contacts with alcohol companies, trade associations, and so-called social aspects organizations since 2013. A wide range of highly policy-relevant scientific issues sat at the center of the discussions in email correspondence and telephone and in-person meetings. Four NIAAA senior leaders, including the current Director, and eight other leaders were identified as being involved.
This study suggests that there is an urgent need to better understand the nature and extent of this problem, both within and beyond NIAAA. This includes NIAAA (and industry) interactions with other public bodies, including other federal agencies in the United States, and internationally (e.g., with WHO).