Need for clarity

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PROF Tom MacDonald (Letters, 23 June) accused Marisa de Andrade of presenting an "unbalanced" piece when reporting on a weekend meeting at Gleneagles used by the University of Dundee to recruit doctors for the Scot trial. He insists it is "Scottish Government policy to promote research in primary care, (therefore] her article is unbalanced". Unbalanced in what sense? Criticising how the trial is run is not the same as criticising research in primary care.

He also states no pharmaceutical company is involved in any of their meetings – without pointing out that the trial is entirely funded by Pfizer. The drug company has said it wouldn't conduct a trial in this manner as it insists on meeting the highest standards of compliance with the industry's code of conduct, so why would a university choose to do so? If scientists try to conceal the sources of their funding, while entertaining GPs at Gleneagles, the public might be forgiven for being sceptical of any claims that come out of the science.

In the aftermath of the MPs' expenses scandal the public requires transparency and integrity from people in public life.


Department of geography and sociology, University of Strathclyde