FDA media arm-twisting, big pharma corrupting medical research, flagrant conflicts of interest...
Plus billionaire philanthropists’ bankrolling the news and more.
My sarcastic post, “Don’t You Believe The Science®?” has a few of the same references as the ones in this list, but there are a lot of new ones here too.
Let’s start with this excellent 2015 quote by the chief editor of The Lancet:
“Afflicted by studies with small sample sizes, tiny effects, invalid exploratory analyses, and flagrant conflicts of interest, together with an obsession for pursuing fashionable trends of dubious importance, science has taken a turn towards darkness.”
British Medical Journal: Covid-19 has unleashed state corruption on a grand scale…
Science is being suppressed for political and financial gain. Covid-19 has unleashed state corruption on a grand scale, and it is harmful to public health.1 Politicians and industry are responsible for this opportunistic embezzlement. So too are scientists and health experts. The pandemic has revealed how the medical-political complex can be manipulated in an emergency—a time when it is even more important to safeguard science.
Scientific American: How the FDA Manipulates the Media
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has been arm-twisting journalists into relinquishing their reportorial independence, our investigation reveals. Other institutions are following suit.
Just to drive it home, I’m repeating the opening quote source.
Chief editor of The Lancet: The case against science is straightforward: much of the scientific literature, perhaps half, may simply be untrue.
The case against science is straightforward: much of the scientific literature, perhaps half, may simply be untrue. Afflicted by studies with small sample sizes, tiny effects, invalid exploratory analyses, and flagrant conflicts of interest, together with an obsession for pursuing fashionable trends of dubious importance, science has taken a turn towards darkness. As one participant put it, “poor methods get results”.
The Intercept: Vaccine makers funneled undisclosed campaign cash to Dems and Reps in 2020
Biotechnology Innovation Organization, the trade group for Pfizer and Moderna, made large dark-money donations during the 2020 election, a new filing reveals.
Stat News: Campaign finance records: Last two years over one-third (at least 2,467) of all state lawmakers nationwide used pharmaceutical industry cash to fund their campaigns
Campaign finance records show that in last two years, at least 2,467 state legislators — over one-third of all state lawmakers nationwide — used pharmaceutical industry cash to fund their campaigns. The industry wrote over 10,000 individual checks totaling more than $9 million.
Their map on that post is fantastic.
Our lawmakers are also shareholders.
Center for Responsive Politics: Congress invests big in pharmaceutical, tech stocks
As of 2019: Pfizer is one of the most popular stocks in Congress, with 48 lawmakers placing their bet on the drugmaker that hikes its prices each year.
Former editor-in-chief of the New England Journal of Medicine: “It is simply no longer possible to believe much of the clinical research that is published…”
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 editor of The New England Journal of Medicine.
— Dr. Marcia Angell, former editor-in-chief of the New England Journal of Medicine
Dr. Marcia Angell is a former editor-in-chief of the New England Journal of Medicine. She is currently a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School in Boston, Massachusetts.
Yahoo Finance: “Congress is owned by pharma,” FDA medical adviser.
Despite many politicians, particularly declared presidential candidates, beginning to speak out against big pharma, Brown does not think that anything will come out of it “because Congress is owned by pharma.”
New York Times: Transparency Hasn’t Stopped Drug Companies From Corrupting Medical Research
A review of 74 clinical trials of antidepressants, for example, found that 37 of 38 positive studies — that is, studies that showed that a drug was effective — were published. But 33 of 36 negative studies were either not published or published in a form that conveyed a positive outcome.
Columbia Journalism Review: When money is offered, we listen’: foundation funding and nonprofit journalism
The news industry’s once-dependable revenue model, based on selling advertising and subscriptions, increasingly seems like an artifact from a different era. Against this backdrop, many journalism stakeholders have looked to foundation funding for rescue.
Columbia Journalism Review: Billionaire philanthropists’ bankrolling the news
Nowhere does this concern loom larger than with the Gates Foundation, a leading donor to newsrooms and a frequent subject of favorable news coverage.
Plos: The Haunting of Medical Journals: How Ghostwriting Sold “HRT”
Some 1500 documents revealed in litigation provide unprecedented insights into how pharmaceutical companies promote drugs, including the use of vendors to produce ghostwritten manuscripts and place them into medical journals.
Dozens of ghostwritten reviews and commentaries published in medical journals and supplements were used to promote unproven benefits and downplay harms of menopausal hormone therapy (HT), and to cast raloxifene and other competing therapies in a negative light.
Specifically, the pharmaceutical company Wyeth used ghostwritten articles to mitigate the perceived risks of breast cancer associated with HT, to defend the unsupported cardiovascular “benefits” of HT, and to promote off-label, unproven uses of HT such as the prevention of dementia, Parkinson's disease, vision problems, and wrinkles.
Given the growing evidence that ghostwriting has been used to promote HT and other highly promoted drugs, the medical profession must take steps to ensure that prescribers renounce participation in ghostwriting, and to ensure that unscrupulous relationships between industry and academia are avoided rather than courted.
By the way: Pfizer purchased Wyeth.
HuffPost: Cozy corporate alliances with the CDC.
Concerns about the inner workings of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have been mounting in recent months amid disclosures of cozy corporate alliances.
Sydney Morning Herald (Dec. 2019): Cannot be trusted ... causing harm': Top medical journal takes on big pharma
The BMJ says doctors are being unduly influenced by industry-sponsored education events and industry-funded trials for major drugs.
Those trials cannot be trusted, the journal's editor and a team of global healthcare leaders write in a scathing editorial published on Wednesday.
The "endemic financial entanglement with industry is distorting the production and use of healthcare evidence, causing harm to individuals and waste for health systems", they write.
“When we want to decide on a medicine or a surgery, a lot of the evidence we used to inform that decision is biased," "It cannot be trusted. Because so much of that has been produced and funded by the manufacturers of those healthcare products.”
British Medical Journal editor: It’s estimated that 70 % of the [scientific research paper] retractions are based on some form of scientific misconduct.
Sometimes it’s an honest mistake. But it’s estimated that 70 per cent of the [scientific research paper] retractions are based on some form of scientific misconduct.
There will be commercial pressures, academic pressures, and to pretend otherwise is absurd. So we have to have many more mechanisms, much more skepticism, and much more willingness to challenge.