I don't trust them

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by elliespad, May 26, 2009.

  1. elliespad

    elliespad Member


    Monday, May 25, 2009
    Corrupted Research

    When a former editor-in-chief of The New England Journal of Medicine, says:

    "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."

    It's worth paying attention.

    That quotation is by former NEJM editor Dr. Marcia Angell from her review of three recent books which (including one she authored herself) shine a light on the influence businesses, in this case drug companies, have on research that appears in even the most respected, peer-reviewed science and medical journals ... and how businesses influence the behavior of medical professionals, in all fields - healthcare, research, academia, and government.

    Here's her review:
    Drug Companies & Doctors: A Story of Corruption, New York Review of Books, January 2009.

    I'll list the books she was reviewing because I think their titles help tell the story:

    * "Side Effects: A Prosecutor, A Whistleblower, And A Bestselling Antidepressant On Trial"
    by Alison Bass

    This is the story of pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline, who "buried evidence that its top-selling antidepressant, Paxil, was ineffective and possibly harmful." GSK agreed to settle charges of consumer fraud for $2.5 million - their cost for doing business, since Paxil continued to bring in about $3 billion a year.

    * "Our Daily Meds: How The Pharmaceutical Companies Transformed Themselves Into Slick Marketing Machines And Hooked The Nation On Prescription Drugs"
    by Melody Petersen

    The story of how drug companies engage in "disease-mongering," convincing prospective patients and their doctors "that they have medical conditions that require long-term medical treatment." Here, Pfizer pled guilty for illegally marketing Neurontin, laying out $430 million to resolve the charges. Again, this was just the cost of doing business, since Neurontin, which was initially approved to treat epilepsy, continued to bring in billions annually - for precisely the off-market uses Pfizer illegally advanced, "bipolar disease, post-traumatic stress disorder, insomnia, restless legs syndrome, hot flashes, migraines, tension headaches, and more."

    * "Shyness: How Normal Behavior Became A Sickness"
    by Christopher Lane

    This is another story of disease-mongering: Drug makers creating diagnoses for which drug intervention is not indicated (e.g. the diagnosis of "social anxiety disorder" for shyness), let alone adequately researched, yet proceeding to aggressively market their drugs anyway.


    Selling Pills On Inference Instead Of Science

    The field of psychiatry is particularly vulnerable to disease-mongering since diagnoses are largely subjective. However, Senator Charles Grassley, who exposed damaging conflicts-of-interest in the psychiatry field, has shifted his attention to the cardiology field - where cocktails of powerful drugs are being peddled without the backing of convincing published scientific evidence. (The polypill for heart disease comes to mind. It's an untested pill containing a statin, ACE inhibitor, diuretic, aspirin, and others.)

    Ways Industries Corrupt Research

    There are many ways that industries influence research. One is by suppressing unfavorable results of industry-sponsored studies. Here's an example using antidepressants:

    "Among 74 FDA-registered studies, 31%, accounting for 3449 study participants, were not published. Whether and how the studies were published were associated with the study outcome. A total of 37 studies viewed by the FDA as having positive results were published; 1 study viewed as positive was not published. Studies viewed by the FDA as having negative or questionable results were, with 3 exceptions, either not published (22 studies) or published in a way that, in our opinion, conveyed a positive outcome (11 studies). According to the published literature, it appeared that 94% of the trials conducted were positive. By contrast, the FDA analysis showed that 51% were positive."
    - Selective Publication of Antidepressant Trials and Its Influence on Apparent Efficacy, NEJM, 2008

    Other ways include:

    * Setting up trials that are all but certain to show market worth, e.g. by comparing your drug to a placebo instead of to another similarly-classed drug.

    * Writing a paper that shifts focus away from a drug's poorly substantiated primary effect to a peripheral effect that appears more favorable.

    * Reanalyzing data from published studies, that is, performing a "meta-analysis," where included studies can be cherry-picked, or statistical analyses performed to deemphasize negative findings (i.e. broadening confidence intervals).

    Dr. Angell says that "many reforms would be necessary to restore integrity to clinical research and medical practice. ... Many would involve changes in the FDA." I hope the new FDA Commissioner makes these reforms part of her agenda.

    Posted by Bix at 5/25/2009 08:27:00 AM


    Bryan - oz4caster said...

    It's encouraging to hear that another well known and respected voice is pointing to rampant corruption in the medical establishment and FDA. Hopefully if enough people recognize this problem, eventually elected officials will act to remedy the problem. We need to remind our elected officials about this problem at every opportunity.

    I'm afraid corruption is not just limited to medicine, but also includes agriculture and food administration. NAIS and the persistent and unjustified federal campaign against raw milk are good examples.
    5/25/09 8:57 PM
    Kinzie said...

    Great post! It is sad that research and results can be bought. I agree with the above comment that it is a huge problem within the food industry. I invite you to visit my blog and maybe we can learn from each other!
    5/25/09 10:37 PM
  2. cfsgeorge

    cfsgeorge New Member

    I've known this for decades. Be very careful of any meds you're prescribed esp the widespread use of A/D's for diseases that have no medical or logical justification. It's not your doctor's fault because they know as little as you do. It's the fault of the true Drug Cartel$ of America calling themselves a pharmaceutical company.
  3. cfsgeorge

    cfsgeorge New Member

    ......we'll look back and shake our heads as to why A/D's were ever used in medicine. It's as barbaric and dangerous as "blood letting" was to medicine.

    If you have or are trying to prevent depression, supplement with fish oil, L-tyrosine, 5-htp, vit D, eat fatty fishes, aerobic exercise(if possible) and most of all, get off Re-uptake Inhibitors!
  4. therealmadscientist

    therealmadscientist New Member

    About 20 years ago I took a class in medical statistics. A major theme of the professor was that most medical journal studies were very poorly reported, with inadequate information to independently evaluate results. Or, "useless".

    Someone did a study of chinese acupuncture "scientific' reports. Instead of a typical bell shaped curve, only one half of a bell appeared. Any negative reports were obviously deleted.

    Mr bill
  5. cfsgeorge

    cfsgeorge New Member

    On this board, I'm not telling people to throw away their A/D's, but to look at better and safer ways of treating depression. This is what i did in my practice as well. Yes, i was a practicing physician(DC) in the state of california. I cannot legally pull someone off their meds regardless of how dangerous i feel they are. i can only treat and educate the patient and have him/her decide for themselves with their prescribing physician. I do the same for patients who are on meds for high cholesterol, high BP, and those suffering from pain due to a musculoskeletal problem. Treating the causes not medicating the symptoms is the way to live healthy and disease free.

    To say you can't treat clinical depression by "natural" means is totally ludicrous and harmful IMPO. You should always treat or prevent your depression FIRST naturally through proper food selection, proper supplementation, aerobic and psychological therapy. These are the safest and possibly the most effective long term methods to treating and curing depression. A/D's should be used as a LAST resort when nothing else helps not the 1st therapy to treating depression IMPO.

    To clarify, you cannot take 5-htp(precursor to serotonin) and L-tyrosine(precursor to dopamine) together with A/D's because this will overload you and cause a "crisis"(ie: serotonin syndrome). You cannot take both supplements and A/D's together. You must choose between A/D's or natural supplements. No physician will prescribe both and no one knows how to monitor them together.

  6. jole

    jole Member

    Thank you for the reminder that natural supplements CAN be harmful. I agree they are good when used correctly, but there are people here who feel just because they are "natural" anyone can take them without any side effects.

    Just as there can be reactions between certain medications and certain foods, so there can be reactions between meds and supplements. I don't think this can (or is) stressed often enough for everyone to please ask or research before combining meds and supplements. ***Jole***