McGill committed to active engagement, to organize academic conference on safe alternatives to asbestos and related topics of public interest
McGill University’s Research Integrity Officer (RIO), Dr. Abe Fuks, has found no evidence to support allegations of research misconduct leveled against Prof. John Corbett McDonald in connection with his work on the health effects of asbestos.
The report is the result of an extensive analysis in response to a request in March by Vice-Principal of Health Affairs and Dean of Medicine David Eidelman. It concludes that there is no warrant to initiating further investigation into the allegations against McDonald, who retired from McGill in the late 1980s. Dr. Eidelman presented today the report to the McGill Senate, which supervises academic matters at the University.
In the report, Prof. Fuks states that Prof. McDonald properly acknowledged financial support from the asbestos industry in his publications -- the earliest of which date from the 1960s -- and that there is no evidence to suggest that the sponsors influenced the data analyses or the conclusions. McDonald and his research team demonstrated clearly that all forms of asbestos increase the risk of lung cancer; these findings “have been replicated by other groups”, and “their robustness has endured many critical analyses and legal inquiries,” the report concludes.
In his report, Prof. Fuks also concludes that his review of relevant information “lends no credence” to allegations that McGill colluded with the asbestos industry in promoting the use of asbestos.
“I thank Dr. Fuks for his careful review of this past research, and for his recommendations for addressing questions and concerns that have arisen,” said Dr. Eidelman. “As an immediate response, the McGill Faculty of Medicine will move forward on the RIO’s recommendation to organize an academic conference on safe alternatives to asbestos, particularly in the developing world, and other topics of public interest,” said Dr. Eidelman. “It is our role, as a University, to promote discussion and debate on issues raised by current events so as to ensure that new knowledge continues to be generated.”
The RIO’s full report can be found at:
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