VU prof. under investigation for cancer study conflict
A professor at the VU University Medical Center, who is the driving force behind the new screening for cervical cancer, concealed business interests in that research, NRC reports based on their own research. The professor involved ins clinical pathologist Chris Meijer. In a response, the hospital said to NRC that he should have reported his interests and that the hospital is investigating the matter. It is unclear what this will mean for the screening. From April 2016, women will be tested to see whether they carry the virus that causes cervical cancer. Currently women are only screened for abnormal cells. The subsequent examinations will also change and omen who prefer not to go to the doctor for a smear, will be able to request testing material to do the test themselves, according to NRC. This new screening program is based on a recommendation by the Health Council in 2011, which relied heavily on Meijer's scientific work. Meijer was also one of the Council's advisers. Here too he did not report his business interests. Meijer has owned shares in the company Delphi Bioscience, the company that made a product for self testing, for years. According to NRC, he voted and promoted the syringe at conferences. He concealed this interest to the Healt Council, the VUmc, in conversations with the ten Minister of Health AB Klink and in studies on the product in leading medical journals. In 2008 Delhi hired Hague lobbyists to promote replacing the traditional smear with their own product. Meijer is also co-owner of boitech company Diassay, which makes one of the two virus tests that the Health Council mentioned in its recommendation. The other owner of the company is a molecular biologist who was also an adviser to the Council. He also did not report this interest. In a reaction Meijer told NRC that he considers Dlphi as an investment and Diassay as a private matter. He also said that he thinks he can handle the debate about scientific integrity that will undoubtedly now arise. Minister Edith Schippers of Public Health wants the Health Council to launch an investigation into possible conflicts of interests in the new screening program as soon as possible. She said to NOS that she wants "all relevant facts in this case to come to the surface", in a reaction to NRC's reports.