Conflicts of Interest Compromise US Public Health Agency’s Mission, Say Scientists

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Jeanne Lenzer, BMJ, October 24, 2016

Scientists at the United States’ public health agency have urged their employers to “clean up this house,” claiming that conflicts of interest are undermining trust in the agency.

The scientists at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Georgia, sent an anonymous letter at the end of August to Carmen S Villar, chief of staff at the CDC’s Office of the Director. They wrote, “It appears that our mission is being influenced and shaped by outside parties and rogue interests.


The letter highlighted links between two CDC veterans—Barbara Bowman and Michael Pratt—and Coca-Cola as some of the problems at the agency.

The letter and emails revealing internal problems at the CDC came to light after US Right to Know, a watchdog organization focusing on food and agricultural issues, filed freedom of information act requests relating to Bowman and Pratt.

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