Conflict of Interest?: The Researcher has the Disease under Study
I have a simple question to put to my visitors: should a researcher who has the very disease under investigation regarding therapy be a major or significant investigator in the study or should the researcher recuse him/herself and simply become a patient subject of the study?
There is past and current concern in the medical literature about the conflict of interest which may be held by an investigator who is working for or in any way given financial or other support by a pharmaceutical company who will produce the drug under investigation. The concern is that there may be actual bias involved in the design or the carrying out of the study toward the benefit of the pharmaceutical company with lesser concern for the science involved. If there is no intentional bias, perhaps to others it may appear as a possibility and will affect how others look at the results of the research study.
Now with regard to the investigator, him or herself, if the investigator was a patient with the disease, regardless of the financial support of the study, would conflict of interest exist as a patient that might affect the study and its results? If so, how would the conflict manifest itself? An analogous question might be why are patients as subjects of a drug study not given an opportunity to make suggestions in the design and development of the study?
I would welcome comments from my visitors on this aspect of conflict of interest in research. By the way, for those who want to read about another kind of conflict of interest, specifically where the investigators in the study of the cause of autism are or appear to be associated with activist organizations or organizations holding a particular point of view? I posted that thread on November 21, 2007. ..Maurice.