Welcome to today’s heaping dose of cynicism, to start off the weekend right: Scandal has hit none other than the Nobel Prize, after it was revealed that a member of the Nobel selection committee also sat on the board of AstraZeneca, a pharmaceuticals juggernaut that will benefit from this year’s award for medicine.
The 2008 Nobel Prize for physiology or medicine went to three people this year, Luc Montagnier and his (ahem, female) partner Françoise Barre-Sinoussi for discovering HIV, and Harald zur Hausen for his work on the human papilloma virus (HPV) and its link to cervical cancer.
Wouldn’t you know it, AstraZeneca just happens to have a big fat stake in two lucrative HPV vaccines.
To make matters worse:
Two senior figures in the process that chose Mr. zur Hausen have strong links with the pharmaceutical company, which has also recently begun sponsoring the Nobel website and promotional subsidiary. The company strongly denies any wrongdoing.