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Dr. Beatrice Golomb, Associate Professor of Medicine at University of California, San Diego, masterfully exposes the corruption that has metastasized like a tumor throughout the pharmaceutical and medical industries, in the video above.
If you have any doubt about drug companies being riddled with conflicts of interest, those doubts will be shattered after seeing the evidence she presents.
The corruption has become so prolific that it has literally debased medical science.
In the above linked Chicago Breaking News article, Dr. Paul Offit, an infectious disease specialist at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, is quoted as saying:
“Science is not a democracy where people’s votes decide what is right. Look at the data, look at science and make a decision based on science that has been published.”
What he is really advocating is for you to blindly believe in “facts” that may have been produced in the midst of MASSIVE conflicts of interest.
Before you assume the science in medical journals is credible, let’s take a look at what is going on behind the scenes of editing and publishing in medical science.
Bias #1: Unwanted Results are Not Published
In order for scientific studies to happen, someone has to pay for them.
The top funder for any drug trial is the pharmaceutical company that makes it, since the manufacturer is most invested in “proving” how spectacular its drug is. Dr. Golomb uses the case of statins as an example, stating that all of the major statin studies have been funded exclusively by the drug industry.
The second-highest funder of drug studies is the National Institute of Health (NIH), which is not the group of neutral government experts you may have assumed them to be. In fact, NIH accepts a great deal of money from Big Pharma and is deeply enmeshed with the industry.
But drug companies publish only a fraction of the studies they fund — the ones that promote their drugs.
If a study does not have findings that are favorable to its product, it is unlikely it will ever make it into a journal for publication.
In contrast, studies that have favorable findings almost always make the cut.
There are simply thousands of scientific studies out there that have never been seen by you or your physician because they have been screened out by editors and reviewers who are being paid to uphold an industry agenda.
Published studies overwhelmingly favor the funding company’s drug. Whichever drug is manufactured by the study sponsor is the drug that comes out on top, 90 percent of the time!
Given this, how can medical journals be considered unbiased?
Bias #2: Bad Results are Submitted as Good
When a scientific study has findings that cast doubt on the efficacy of a drug, oftentimes the negative findings are morphed into positive ones.
For example, in 2008, FDA officials analyzed a registry of 74 antidepressant trials, which included trials that were published and those that were not. The FDA’s findings were then written up in an article in the New England Journal of Medicine1.
This is what they found:
38 of the trials reported positive results, and 37 of the 38 were published.
36 trials had negative or questionable findings. Of the 36, 22 were not published at all, and 11 were published in a way that conveyed the results as though they were positive.
So, if you just went to the published literature, it would look like 94 percent of the studies were positive, when in reality only about 50 percent were positive … equivalent to a coin toss.
For statins, the odds that the funding company’s drug will come out on top are staggering1:
The odds that the funding company’s statin drug will come out looking better than anyone else’s statin in the “results” section of the article are 20:1.
The odds that the funding company’s statin will come out on top in the “conclusions” part of the article are 35:1.
So, even if they can’t make the results look good, they can often find a way to twist the conclusions so that their drug appears favorable.
Selectively omitting negative trial results can be devastating to your health, as Merck & Co. proved when they concealed the fact that three patients suffered heart attacks from Vioxx during clinical trials. They conveniently omitted this data (along with other relevant findings) from the copy of the study they submitted to the New England Journal of Medicine for publication.
The omissions were uncovered years later during the 7,000 Vioxx lawsuit litigations.
Bias #3: A Favorable Study is Submitted Multiple Times
When a study yields positive results, it is often submitted multiple times in a way that the reader doesn’t realize it’s the same study, obscured by different author lists and different details. Analyzers have had to look very carefully to determine which studies are actually duplicates because they are so cleverly disguised.
Not surprisingly, trials reporting greater treatment efficacy were significantly more likely to be duplicated, according to Dr. Golomb’s reporting.
In one analysis of the published reports about ondansetron (an anti-nausea drug), the same study was published 5 times. This duplication of data led to a 23 percent overestimation of ondansetron’s effectiveness when a meta-analysis was performed.2
Talk about good mileage!
Bias #4: Follow-Up Reviews Done by Biased Experts
The editorials that follow from a study, submitted by so-called unbiased experts and then published in reputable journals, are often done by non-neutral parties who have a financial tie to the drug maker.
Dr. Golomb uses the case of calcium channel blockers (a type of heart medication) as an example. The connection between authors declaring their support for calcium channel blockers and those not in support of them was highly statistically tied to their affiliation with the drug manufacturer — in fact, the odds that their opinion was NOT due to their affiliation was more than 1,000:1.
Bias #5: Ghostwriting
Many of the articles that appear in medical journals purportedly written by well-known academics are actually written by unacknowledged ghostwriters on Big Pharma payroll.
Consider the example of Parke-Davis and their drug Neurontin.
Parke-Davis contracted with a “medical education communication company,” or MECC, which is a company paid almost exclusively by pharmaceutical companies to write articles, reviews, and letters to editors of medical journals to cast their products in a favorable light.
In this case, MECC was paid $13,000 to $18,000 per article. In turn, MECC paid $1,000 each to friendly physicians and pharmacists to sign off as authors of the articles, making the material appear independent.
This was also done by Pfizer as a strategy for marketing Zoloft. A document was written that included 81 different articles promoting Zoloft’s usefulness for everything from panic disorder to pedophilia.
The only problem was, for some articles, the name of the author was listed as “to be determined,” even though the article was listed as already completed. They weren’t helping out an existing team of scientists who happened to be talentless at writing — Pfizer wrote the article, and then shopped around for scientists willing to claim authorship, to give it a veneer of credibility.
Wyeth-Ayerst employed a similar ghostwriting tactic to promote its “fen-phen” diet drug, Redux.
Bias #6: Journal Bias
Medical journals are generally considered by medical practitioners to be a source of reliable information. But medical journals are also businesses.
Three editors, who agreed to discuss finances only if they remained anonymous, said a few journals that previously measured annual profits in the tens of thousands of dollars now make millions annually.
The truth is that Big Pharma has become quite adept at manipulating and brainwashing practitioners of conventional medicine. They influence the very heart and center of the most respected medical journals, creating dogma and beliefs that support the drug paradigm because it is blessed by the pinnacle of scientific integrity: the prestigious peer-reviewed medical journal.
Peer-reviewed medical journals contain advertisements that are almost exclusively for drugs, amidst articles that are biased toward promoting those drugs. If you have looked through a medical journal lately, you’ll see full-page Pharma glossies, cover to cover.
Pharmaceutical companies spend almost twice as much on marketing as they spend on research!
In 2003, drug companies spent $448 million dollars on advertising in medical journals2. It has been calculated that the return on investment on medical journal ads is between $2.22 and $6.86 for every dollar spent, with larger and older brands at the higher end.
Long-term returns may be even higher when you consider that one ad viewed by a physician could result in hundreds or even thousands of drug purchases, based on the prescriptions he or she writes.
The term “peer-review” has come to imply scientific credibility. But the fact is that many of the peer-reviewers are on the drug company’s payroll, and those who are not are unlikely to detect flawed research or outright fraud.
Medical journals are the number one source of medical information for physicians. In fact, nearly 80 percent of physicians use medical journals for their education, which exceeds information from any other source3.
Do you really want to blindly take the advise of a physician whose only source of medical information is a medical journal engaged in such profound conflicts of interest?
Advertisements for drugs focus the “latest and greatest” drugs to hit the market, drugs which may not be superior to existing, less expensive alternatives. So physicians are seduced into prescribing the newest, most expensive drugs, which drives up your healthcare costs.
An excellent article in PLoS Medicine regarding drug advertising in medical journals concludes4:
“The scholarly nature of journals confers credibility on both articles and advertisements within their pages. By exclusively featuring advertisements for drugs and devices, medical journals implicitly endorse corporate promotion of the most profitable products. Advertisements and other financial arrangements with pharmaceutical companies compromise the objectivity of journals.
The primary obligation of industry is to make money for its stockholders. The primary obligation of journals should be to physicians and their patients, who depend on the accuracy of information within these publications. Medical journals should not accept advertisements from pharmaceutical companies, medical device companies, or other industries ‘relevant to medicine.’”
In 2004, Dr. Richard Horton, editor of the Lancet, wrote, “Journals have devolved into information-laundering operations for the pharmaceutical industry.”5
Bias #7: Drug Companies Masquerading as Educators
The education of medical students and residents also comes through the filter of the drug industry, which seeks to groom them before they even finish medical school.
According to Dr. Golomb’s data, Big Pharma now spends $18.5 billion per year promoting their drugs to physicians. That amounts to $30,000 per year for every physician in the U. S.!
And drug companies are allowed to develop their own education curriculum for medical students and residents, lavishing them with gifts, indirectly paying them to attend meetings and events where they promote the company’s products.
Why is the Accrediting Commission for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) so permissive with industry involvement?
Almost half of the members are representatives of Big Pharma or are consultants for businesses that work directly with it to prepare these educational programs. Only a few represent academic CME institutions.
Any discussion of physician “seduction” would be incomplete without the mentioning of the 100,000 drug reps, who are groomed and trained to wine and dine and otherwise shower physicians in sweetness until they are handing out prescriptions like candy.
Reps are even taught tactics for manipulating doctors for industry benefit, as a standard part of their training.6
Hell Hath No Fury
What happens if a physician or other person speaks up about these conflicts of interest? What happens to the proverbial whistle-blower?
Intimidating phone calls and direct threats, for starters.
In one case, Dr. Buse, an endocrinologist who is the incoming president of the American Diabetes Association, presented data in 1999 about his concerns about the risks of Avandia. Dr. Buse was intimidated with multiple phone calls by drug company officials. They suggested he could be financially liable to the company for $4 billion in lost revenues due to his “unscrupulous remarks.”
Other truth-tellers have had their reputations trashed or job offers rescinded for speaking the truths that Big Pharma works so hard to keep under wraps.
“Too Big to Nail”
An individual truth-teller might be vulnerable to the wrath of an angry drug company, but drug companies are unlikely to suffer much of a consequence for their crimes.
A CNN report from April 2, 2010 reveals the truth about how shielded these huge drug companies really are.
Pfizer, the world’s largest pharmaceutical company, engaged in illegally promoting their drug Bextra for off-label use, despite their knowledge that it was associated with an increased risk of stroke and heart attack.
Bextra was pulled from the market in 2005, but not before many people were damaged by its use. When Federal prosecutors realized that convicting Pfizer would likely be a corporate death sentence (as any company convicted of major health care fraud is excluded from Medicare and Medicaid), they cut Pfizer a deal. Just as the big banks on Wall Street were deemed “too big to fail,” Pfizer was deemed “too big to nail.”
Prosecutors claimed to be concerned about the loss of jobs by Pfizer employees and financial losses to Pfizer shareholders as a result of being excluded from the Medicaid/Medicare programs.
So the prosecutors charged a Pfizer subsidiary, Pharmacia & Upjohn Co., instead. In fact, this particular subsidiary company was created specifically for this purpose, as a sacrificial lamb, having been incorporated the very same day its lawyers filed a “guilty” plea in another case involving kick-backs, leaving Pfizer with the penalty equivalent of being sent to bed without supper.
In the end, all Pfizer lost was about three month’s profit, but all contracts, including those with Medicaid and Medicare, were spared.
This is just one more example of your federal government failing to protect you, and opting to protect big business’ interests instead.
The bottom line is, the drug companies aren’t going to protect you.
The government won’t protect you.
The AMA won’t protect you.7
And it is unlikely that your physician can protect you either — even a well-meaning one — when he or she is operating within a system that has become RIGGED for Big Pharma profit.
Only you can protect yourself.
So, until real systemic change takes place, your best health strategy is quite simply to employ and maintain a naturally healthy lifestyle that will optimize your body’s innate healing abilities and minimize your need for the drug companies’ latest concoctions.
For original article click http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2010/05/18/how-corrup...
“At Pfizer I was expected to increase profits at all costs, even when sales meant endangering lives.” –John Kopchinski, former Pfizer sales representative.
Fri Dec 3, 8:09 PM
MONTREAL (CBC) - There is growing concern among health experts about the level of influence the drug industry has on doctors' medical decisions.
Adam Hofmann, a Montreal physician and pharmaceutical industry watchdog, says most doctors are oblivious to the extent to which their decisions on patient health care are influenced by drug companies.
Hofmann, a recent graduate now working as an internal medicine specialist at Montreals Sacre Coeur hospital, founded the McGill University chapter of the U.S. not-for-profit group No Free Lunch while still a medical student.
The groups aim is to try to end the practice of accepting "freebies" from drug firms in the name of continuing medical education.
Hofmann figures its possible to eat free nearly every day of the week in a teaching hospital like the McGill University Health Centre and some medical residents, saddled with debt, take full advantage of that.
But he brown-bagged it on principle, from the moment he realized how hard it was to stay at arms-length from people with something to sell him.
Hofmann estimates as much as 70 per cent of continuing medical education activities in Canada from hospital rounds to conferences are sponsored by the pharmaceutical industry, which he says has a vested interest in promoting its products.
"When the only thing you have going through your head is the purple pill, the purple pill, the purple pill, when there are half a dozen other reasonable, less expensive choices that can be used for treating your patients are you actually making the right choice?" Hofmann asks.
Few would deny that pharmaceutical firms have a role to play, to share research findings and help doctors keep abreast of the latest developments in treatments and drug therapies.
"Were entering into new areas of personalized medicine, areas involving genetic treatments, areas involving biologics," says Declan Hamill, the vice-president of legal affairs for RX&D, the association representing Canadas research-based pharmaceutical companies.
"Companies (that) manufacture and create these medicines know an awful lot about them."
Hamill acknowledges the financial role played by the industry in subsidizing continuing education activities leaves a potential for conflict of interest.
"That being said it is the doctor who controls the content, not the industry," Hamill stresses.
RX&D members must adhere to a strict code of ethical practices that covers everything from dispensing samples to when doctors can be paid honorariums to speak at industry-sponsored events.
Professional orders and medical faculties have adopted codes of ethics governing continuing medical education, too. But none bar the "free lunch" that is standard fare at hospital rounds and other educational activities.
"Its a matter of judgment," says Dr. Yves Robert, the secretary of Quebecs Collège des Médecins, or College of Physicians.
"If you think that a sandwich can have an effect on your professional independence its probably not true. Even if its the best sandwich, its still just a sandwich."
Robert says doctors are trained from the moment they enter medical school to be critical and to evaluate everything theyre told based on evidence, not influence.
But a growing number of studies show doctors may not even be conscious of their biases and where they originate.
The Association of American Medical Colleges devoted a symposium to the Scientific Basis of Influence and Reciprocity in Washington, D.C., in 2007. It drew on a wealth of research, including studies using magnetic resonance imaging to show the "level of covert subtlety" at which the brain is working when a person is offered favours.
But studies dont have to be that sophisticated.
"There was a study in 2001 that asked med students, residents and doctors, Raise your hand if you think you are influenced by pharmaceutical funding?" recalls Hofmann.
"Sixteen per cent raised their hand. The next question was, Raise your hand if you think the guy sitting next to you is influenced' and 61 per cent raised their hand!
"None of us are immune from the thought that we are critical thinkers or better, smarter, faster, or whatever it is," concludes Hofmann. "The guy sitting next to you actually knows the truth."
“Statistics were actually the semantics of research. You could take statistics and bar charts and pretty much manipulate them and made them look like however you wanted them to and that began to concern me.” –Gwen Olsen.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Orthomolecular Medicine News Service, November 5, 2008
Rigged Trials: Drug Studies Favor The Manufacturer
(OMNS, November 5, 2008) If you have often suspected that drug studies are rigged by
the pharmaceutical manufacturer, you are right. "Drug studies skewed toward study
sponsors," reported The Washington Post. (1) "Industry-funded research often favors
patent-holders, study finds." Specifically, the American Journal of Psychiatry study
authors said, "In 90% of the studies, the reported overall outcome was in favor of
the sponsor's drug. . . On the basis of these contrasting findings in head-to-head
trials, it appears that whichever company sponsors the trial produces the better
antipsychotic drug." (2)
Marcia Angell, MD, former editor-in-chief of the New England Journal of Medicine,
agrees. "Is there some way (drug) companies can rig clinical trials to make their
drugs look better than they are? Unfortunately, the answer is yes. Trials can be
rigged in a dozen ways, and it happens all the time." One "way to load the dice,"
she writes, "is to enroll only young subjects in trials, even if the drugs being
tested are meant to be used mainly in older people. Because young people generally
experience fewer side effects, drugs will look safer." Another of the "common ways
to bias trials is to present only part of the data - the part that makes the product
look good - and ignore the rest." She adds, "The most dramatic form of bias is
out-and-out suppression of negative results." (3)
You will rarely hear academia complain. Why? Because they are aboard the gravy
train. Dr. Angell: "Columbia University, which patented the technology used in the
manufacture of Epogen and Cerezyme, collected nearly $300 million in royalties" in
17 years. "The patent was based on NIH-funded research." That means you, the
taxpayer, footed the bill. Harvard is in just as deep. In its own Faustian dealings
with the drug companies, "a Harvard hospital has a deal that gives Novartis rights
to discoveries that lead to new cancer drugs. . . Merck is building a twelve-story
research facility next door to Harvard Medical School . . . In Harvard Medical
School 's Dean's Report for 2003-4, the list of benefactors included about a dozen
of the largest drug companies."
Clearly drug companies are more concerned with profits than with patients. The
psychiatric drug market is a very big business. American doctors prescribe $10
billion worth of antipsychotic drugs every single year. The pharmaceutical industry,
says Angell, is "primarily a marketing machine to sell drugs of dubious benefit."
Big pharma is "taking us for a ride." And it is no mere jaunt around the park. Total
drug industry worldwide sales are in excess of $500 billion per year, half of which
are in North America. Profit margins are typically 20 per cent, so high that "the
combined profits for the ten drug companies in the Fortune 500 were more than the
profits for all the other 490 businesses put together."
But more cash does not buy more cures. In fact, said the Washington Post: "When the
federal government recently compared a broader range of drugs in typical
schizophrenia patients in a lengthy trial, the two medications that stood out were
cheaper drugs not under patent." (1) It gets even more interesting when we broaden
our list of treatment options to include nutrition. With the therapeutic use of
vitamin supplements, the cost goes down much further, and the success rate goes way
up. Orthomolecular (nutritional) therapy, says psychiatrist Abram Hoffer, MD, PhD,
is many times more effective than drug therapy. He says that niacin (vitamin B-3) in
sufficiently high doses is the most effective, least expensive, and safest treatment
for schizophrenia and a number of other very serious mental illnesses. Hoffer and
colleagues demonstrated this decades ago when, in the early 1950s, they successfully
conducted the very first double-blind, placebo-controlled nutritional studies in t!
he history of psychiatry. (4)
Niacin is a clinically proven therapy for serious mental illness, and yet the
medical profession has delayed endorsing it for over fifty years. Instead, drug
treatments dominate. But drugs are not doing the job. A double-blind study of
schizophrenics showed that three-quarters of them stopped taking pharmaceutical
medication either because of intolerability or inefficacy. That means that either
the drug side effects were unbearable, or the drug just plain did not work. (5)
Perhaps drugs are not the answer because mental illness is not caused by drug
deficiency. But much illness, especially mental illness, may indeed be caused by
nutrient deficiency or nutrient dependency. Only nutrients can correct this problem.
This not only makes sense, it has stood up to clinical trial again and again. (6)
Vitamins like niacin are cheap, safe and effective. Modern "wonder drugs" are none
of those. But they do make money. Especially when the drug makers control the
research, the advertising, and the doctors. No wonder which approach you've heard
We've all been carefully taught that drugs cure illness, not vitamins. The system is
remarkably well-entrenched. 2.3 million Americans per year serve as human subjects
for pharmaceutical company drug testing. Pharmaceutical companies set up patient
support or advocacy groups to attract specific subjects for their clinical trials.
Doctors are paid an average of $7,000 per patient for every patient they enroll in a
drug study. Drug companies pay nearly two-thirds of the costs of continuing medical
education. While the pharmaceutical industry's reach into education is bad enough,
its grip on research is scandalous. For example: Drug company "publications
strategies" have them "sponsor minimal research, prepare journal articles based on
it, and pay academic researchers to put their names on those articles." So bad is it
that Dr. Angell wrote an editorial in NEJM (7) entitled "Is Academic Medicine for
Sale?" A reader wryly responded, "No. The current owner is very happy with it."
The result? "Bias is now rampant in drug trials. . . (Pharmaceutical)
industry-sponsored research was nearly four times as likely to be favorable to the
company's product as NIH-sponsored research." (3) Remember, "NIH-sponsored" means
"taxpayer-funded." And then, when they need to use a drug, those same taxpayers pay
again, and way too much, for the drug they already paid out grant money to develop,
in a rigged trial, for a high-profit company.
What a sweet system for the pharmaceutical industry.
(1) Drug studies skewed toward study sponsors. Industry-funded research often favors
patent-holders, study finds. Vedantam S. The Washington Post, April 11, 2006.
(2) Heres S, Davis J , Maino K, et al. Why Olanzapine Beats Risperidone, Risperidone
Beats Quetiapine, and Quetiapine Beats Olanzapine: An Exploratory Analysis of
Head-to-Head Comparison Studies of Second-Generation Antipsychotics. Am J Psychiatry
163:185-194, February 2006.
(3) Angell M. The Truth about the Drug Companies. NY: Random House, 2004.
(4) Hoffer A. Healing Schizophrenia. Complementary Vitamin & Drug Treatments.
Ontario: CCNM Press (2004). ISBN-10: 1897025084; ISBN-13: 978-1897025086. Also:
Vitamin B-3 and Schizophrenia: Discovery, Recovery, Controversy, by Abram Hoffer,
MD. Quarry Press, Kingston, Ontario Canada (1998) ISBN 1-55082-079-6. Reviewed at
List of publications by Abram Hoffer: http://www.doctoryourself.com/biblio_hoffer.html
(5) Stroup TS, Lieberman JA, McEvoy JP et al. Effectiveness of olanzapine,
quetiapine, risperidone, and ziprasidone in patients with chronic schizophrenia
following discontinuation of a previous atypical antipsychotic. Am J Psychiatry.
2006 Apr;163(4):611-22. See also: Stroup TS, McEvoy JP, Swartz MS et al. The
National Institute of Mental Health Clinical Antipsychotic Trials of Intervention
Effectiveness (CATIE) project: schizophrenia trial design and protocol development.
Schizophr Bull. 2003;29(1):15-31.
(6) For free access to peer-reviewed nutrition therapy journal articles:
(7) Angell M. Is academic medicine for sale? N Engl J Med. 2000 May 18;342(20):1516-8.
Nutritional Medicine is Orthomolecular Medicine
Orthomolecular medicine uses safe, effective nutritional therapy to fight illness.
For more information: http://www.orthomolecular.org
The peer-reviewed Orthomolecular Medicine News Service is a non-profit and
non-commercial informational resource.
Editorial Review Board:
Damien Downing, M.D.
Steve Hickey, Ph.D.
Abram Hoffer, M.D., Ph.D.
James A. Jackson, PhD
Bo H. Jonsson, MD, Ph.D
Thomas Levy, M.D., J.D.
Erik Paterson, M.D.
Gert E. Shuitemaker, Ph.D.
Andrew W. Saul, Ph.D., Editor and contact person. Email: email@example.com
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Start with the 7th video and go from there. The series has interesting facts. The first 6 are good too, especially the first one.
pills and surgeries are not the only solutions for every problem. look at what's happening in your life--the people in your social circle, your thought processes, etc.
Here is alittle story about my sister.
She was in her thirties and on all kinds of meds. I kept telling her to get rid of the meds and seek out other alternatives for bettering her health. Of course she refused to listen. Then, She found out she was pregnant. Finally a doctor with nothing but true and good intentions ordered her off ALL MEDS!
She started feeling much better, all of her health issues started to disappear. She was afraid she wouldn't be able to carry the baby nor even be around to raise her. But thanks to a Doctor that did not believe in being on meds while pregnant, she is alive and well and really got a 2nd chance at life. Long gone are the days of her taking about 30 pills per day as prescribed. I am thankful for that Doctor I wish more of them were out there like Him (or her for that matter)!
All My Best,
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