Who’s running the show in industry-sponsored drug trials?

There is strong evidence that medical researchers’ financial ties to their industry funders may directly influence their published positions in supporting the benefit or downplaying the harm of the products they are “studying”. 

For example, there is often a demonstrated difference between internal drug company documents about the research trial results that they fund, and the articles reporting that research that end up in the medical journals that your doctor reads.  The New England Journal of Medicine has referred to this practice as ‘selective outcome reporting’.

But for the sake of clarity, let’s just call it ‘lying’.   Continue reading

Bioethical journal: “How drug marketing corrupts every part of the scientific and medical network”

When a psychiatrist stands up and blasts Big Pharma, you know something is very wrong. This happened recently with the publication of an Australian study exposing corrupt drug company marketing practices, including covering up adverse side effects and pushing patients on to new, more expensive drugs even when those are less effective. Adelaide psychiatrist Dr. Peter Parry and his American colleague Dr. Glen Spielmans reported in the Journal of Bioethical Inquiry:

“Drug marketing is a very sophisticated system which corrupts every part of the scientific and medical network.  Science has largely been taken captive in the name of increasing profits for pharmaceutical firms.”

Parry and Spielmans defend this shocking assessment by pointing to over 400 internal documents obtained from U.S. and European drug companies for this study. Continue reading

If only Avandia were more like Toyota

Poor Toyota.  The car maker has been forced to recall more than 8 million vehicles worldwide after news that at least 34 deaths have been linked to Toyota vehicle problems going back as far as 2004. But compare those 34 deaths with the more than 1,000 reports of patient deaths linked with the prescription drug Avandia in just one nine-month period last year, a death rate described by an Institute for Safe Medication Practices report as: “more than any other drug we monitor.” John Mack, editor of Pharma Marketing News, warns:

“If people are afraid to buy Toyotas, then based on average yearly death rates, they should be about 400 times more afraid to take Avandia.”   Continue reading