As a society we have long been concerned about scientists working in industry or academia who may be influenced to write papers suited to satisfy the needs of the people financing the project. Many people I talk to are concerned that the current economic climate in western industrialized nations is aggravating this problem.
Furthermore, this funding bias is often compounded by personal bias, and this was well put in a published essay (Ioannidis, John P. A., PLoS Medicine 2005; 2(8): 696-701): “Prejudice may not necessarily have financial roots. Scientists in a given field may be prejudiced purely because of their belief in a scientific theory or commitment to their own findings.”
The problem I see is that in medicine it can be very difficult to filter erroneous research results. The only way in my opinion that we can trust the veracity of a research finding, is if the results are reproducible in other studies. Therefore, in a way, no matter how you look at it, research bias is a growing problem in the practice of medicine.
Adolfo Cotter, MD