Science & Tech

Researchers publish HIV study results despite efforts to block

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Study’s sponsor objected to unfavorable findings

Researchers refused to suppress publication of data that indicates an experimental drug did not slow the progression of HIV infection, even though the drug company that sponsored their research tried to block the publication in court. Stephen Lagakos, chair of the Department of Biostatistics at the Harvard School of Public Health, and a colleague from the University of California, San Francisco, went ahead with publication of their paper in the November 1, 2000, issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). The researchers insisted that a university has a right to publish unfavorable research findings. The study was sponsored and funded by a pharmaceutical company, which filed a multimillion-dollar action with the American Arbitration Association against UCSF and research study chair James Kahn in an unsuccessful attempt to block publication of the results. The University of California filed a counterclaim, affirming the university’s right to publish unfavorable or neutral, industry-sponsored research findings. The Harvard School of Public Health and Lagakos have not been named in the action.