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Budweiser, Others Skirt Policy To Fund NIH Research On Moderate Drinking ‘Health Benefits’

Nothing evokes enticement like a Budweiser ad showing bikini-clad girls on a beach drinking Bud Light.

Budweiser Wants It To Stay That Way

When the National Institute of Health (NIH) sponsored a study that stated that “moderate” drinking was healthy, Budweiser gleefully forked over funding, as did other industry manufacturers.

Yes, you read that correctly. Internal documents and emails demonstrate that the NIH actively solicited monies from the alcohol industry to fund “scientific” research.

As reported by the New York Times:

“The 10-year government trial is now underway, and Anheuser Busch InBev, Heineken and other alcohol companies are picking up most of the tab, through donations to a private foundation that raises money for the National Institutes of Health.”

NIH policy makes clear that it is unacceptable practice to accept donations from a corporation that has a vested interest in a particular outcome.

Didn’t Get The Memo?

Apparently, they didn’t get the memo on policy. In this case, the corporate donations went to support the fallacy that moderate drinking is just fine.

The Director of the NIH, George Koob is a particularly curious character. Stat reports on a meeting between Koob and a scientist, Michael Siegel from Boston University.

Siegel and a colleague were summoned by Koob for the meeting according to Stat. Siegel said:

“I knew we were in trouble [with Koob for doing research that companies like Budweiser would frown upon].”

Siegel had been researching how the alcohol industry advertising influences teenage drinking.

Siegel described how the meeting went down,

“[Siegel] never imagined, however, that at the 2015 meeting the director, George Koob, would leap out of his seat and scream at the scientists after their PowerPoint presentation on research the agency had eagerly funded on the association between alcohol marketing and underage drinking. ‘I don’t f***ing care!’ Koob yelled, referring to alcohol advertising, according to the scientists.”

In other words, the NIH was not funding research that would ruffle the feathers of their cash cows with the proper scientific inquiry.

The Bottom Line

Simply put, the bottom line was to not piss off Budweiser with facts that demonstrate kids drink because of their ads.

The scientific method has one very important ethical principle that was lost on the NIH Director, Koob.

When a hypothesis is formulated, a scientist seeks to disprove it. The scientific method is not hazy on this point. Scientists do not throw out data that refutes a hypothesis.

Koob wanted a specific result promoting the health benefits of alcohol consumption.

The New York Times  makes clear the bizarre scientific construct of the study as follows:

“No other long-term trial has ever asked participants to drink, much less drink every day. Scientists will track the two groups for six years on average to see whether daily drinkers have fewer heart attacks and strokes, and lower odds of diabetes and death.”

The lack of ethical practice by Koob and the NIH’s Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism he oversaw is mind-numbing.

This is a prime example of how corporations buy our government on the backs of the bruised — including our at-risk children.


Featured Image Via YouTube Video.

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