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SCI/TECH: Taser Study Official Removed Following Conflict of Interest Charges

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posted on May, 12 2005 @ 11:04 PM
The top medical officer of Taser International was removed as an advisor to a University of Wisconsin-Madison study of the safety of stun guns. The head of the UW-Madison study, John Webster, removed Robert Stratbucker from the advisory panel for his study, after it was revealed that he also served as Taser International's top medical officer.
MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A Wisconsin researcher has removed Taser International's medical director as an adviser to a study of the safety of stun guns after critics said his involvement with the manufacturer tainted the research.
University of Wisconsin-Madison professor John Webster had described his two-year, $500,000 study funded by the U.S. Department of Justice as the first to look at the safety of stun guns independent of Taser, the Arizona-based company that makes the weapons.

But documents uncovered this week show Robert Stratbucker, an Omaha physician who is Taser's top medical officer, is one of four consultants to the study, which will look at how pigs' hearts react to electric shocks from the devices

Please visit the link provided for the complete story.

There are two schools of thought on this:

Who better to help advise on a study on the safety of stun guns than the chief medical officer of the manufacturer? Clearly, he is an expert on the matter, and it would be slightly odd to categorically exclude him from the work.

On the other hand, if the study were to find no safety problems, critics of the program would surely point to his presence and claim that the fix was in.

I think UW-M did the right thing.

posted on May, 12 2005 @ 11:46 PM
Well, the guy has a responsibility to Tase International to voice the opinion that they are safe. Do you think he is going to risk his job at Taser by saying they are unsafe?

Everyone knows what his answer would be or probably would be. Therefore, how could anyone expect him to take an objective approach?

posted on May, 16 2005 @ 10:54 PM
He also has a responsibility as a scientist to search for the truth and report it objectively.

With few exceptions, the researchers I know are fully able to do this, and in fact, quite often report information that may not be helpful to their cause for the sake of full disclosure.

Unfortunately, in this age of predatory litigation, merely the appearance or potential for a conflict of interest is sufficient to disqualify an otherwise fully qualified reviewer.

posted on May, 16 2005 @ 11:36 PM
The only objective of many of the researchers I know is to report whatever findings will give them a grant.

Yea, scientists are a virtuous bunch.

I think the exception are those who remain true to the objective of science.

[edit on 16-5-2005 by Jamuhn]

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