Dr Aubrey Blumsohn is writing about astroturfing over at Scientific Misconduct. But that’s just the start and he has details about a particularly nasty case from Sweden:
Much has been written about the problem of “astroturf” patient advocacy groups. These are patient “support” groups with a facade of grassroots advocacy – but with real interests that lie elsewhere.
It isn’t hard to discern fake advocacy. The cracks show when concerns are raised about scientific dishonesty, hiding of evidence, and regulatory malfunction. Patients rely on honest independent science. Legitimate advocacy groups (such as MIND ) show concern and outrage when there is evidence of threat to the integrity of science upon which their patient “clients” depend. Mute behavior of an “advocacy” group provides evidence of illegitimacy.
Less widely discussed is the inclination of some “advocacy” groups to intimidate individual scientists, clinicians or patients who wish to discuss concerns about scientific integrity.
Well worth a visit to read the whole article – how do they get away with it?