NEJM editor: “No longer possible to believe much of clinical research published”

NEJM posterHarvard Medical School’s Dr. Marcia Angell is the author of The Truth About the Drug Companies: How They Deceive Us and What to Do About It. But more to the point, she’s also the former Editor-in-Chief at the New England Journal of Medicine, arguably one of the most respected medical journals on earth. But after reading her article in the New York Review of Books called Drug Companies & Doctors: A Story of Corruption, one wonders if any medical journal on earth is worth anybody’s respect anymore.

“It is simply no longer possible to believe much of the clinical research that is published, or to rely on the judgment of trusted physicians or authoritative medical guidelines. I take no pleasure in this conclusion, which I reached slowly and reluctantly over my two decades as an editor of The New England Journal of Medicine.”

Dr. Angell cites the case of Dr. Joseph L. Biederman, professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and chief of pediatric psychopharmacology at Harvard’s Massachusetts General Hospital. She explains:

“Thanks largely to him, children as young as two years old are now being diagnosed with bipolar disorder and treated with a cocktail of powerful drugs, many of which were not approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for that purpose, and none of which were approved for children below ten years of age.” Continue reading

How a British university sold out to a drug company

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A few years ago, Sheffield University in the U.K. offered over $250,000 to one of its senior medical professors if he would agree to stop criticizing the drug company that was giving research money to the university’s medical school.

For several years, bone metabolism specialist Dr. Aubrey Blumsohn had been complaining to his university about scientific misconduct around a contract between Sheffield and the U.S.-based drug company, Procter & Gamble Pharmaceuticals. Blumsohn claimed that the company had denied him access to his own key research data on the P&G drug Actonel, and then tried to ghostwrite his analysis of it for publication.   Continue reading