Whenever I feel like I don’t have quite enough aggravation in my life, I used to like checking out Stuart Laidlaw’s medical ethics column in the Toronto Star. For example, Stuart’s eagle eye once spotted a disturbing article about ‘marketing-based medicine’ published in the Journal of Bioethical Inquiry. It looked at the ever-so-slightly sleazy topic of data fishing. This is what Big Pharma does when science is used improperly to help market their drugs. This includes selective use of clinical trial results to suppress or spin negative results.
For the sake of clarity, let’s call this “lying”.
Another example of marketing-based medicine is the alarmingly dangerous practice of medical ghostwriting. This happens when a report that’s bought and paid for by the drug company to give a positive review of one of its products is then published in medical journals under the name of a respected academic who had little (if anything) to do with the actual journal article. See also: Partners in Slime: Why You Should Be Alarmed About Medical Ghostwriting. Continue reading