Professor finds Widespread Medical Research Bias

Beatrice Golomb, MD, PhD, is adding herself to the ranks of those who question the conclusions being drawn by modern medical research.  The issue she underscores: multiple conflicts of interest tend to distort results.

In a recent interview with Dr. Joseph Mercola of Mercola.com, she described some of the situations she has identified which trouble her. Golomb is an associate professor of medicine and family medicine at University of California-San Diego. 

Golomb is a researcher on statin drugs who wanted to set up a trial independent of the drug companies. The only way to do that is to ask NIH for money for the trial. But NIH insisted that the application involve asking the drug company to provide the drug for free. NIH didn’t want to pay for the drug. So the research could not be independent, said Golomb.  

Not only do the drug companies fund part or all of every drug study, but they put pressure on the journals to publish articles favorable to them. It’s financial pressure: the drug companies pull their advertising if an unfavorable article might be published, and the advertising is what funds the magazine. Favorable articles, on the other hand, produce plenty of revenue to the magazine in the form of copyrighted copies of the articles to be distributed by drug sales people to doctors, charges Golomb.

Golomb was looking at a particular issue involving statin drugs. Favorable studies were published, but unfavorable ones were not, skewing the apparent usefulness of the drug. In fact, the effect was so pronounced that when the unfavorable results were factored in, the effectiveness of the drug went from the reported 90 percent down to just 50 percent. “That’s the difference between unanimity and a coin toss,” said Golomb.

Mercola, writing up the interview, mentions Paul Offitt, the vaccine inventor and researcher who has been critical of those who suspect vaccines may play a part in autism.  Offitt advocates accepting all the medical journals have to say, accepting some illogic in the process as I have detailed in previous posts.

Mercola also said,

It’s virtually impossible to expect a publicly traded pharmaceutical company, which has a major obligation to its stockholders, to simultaneously have the patient’s best interest at heart. As Golomb says, the two are fundamentally incompatible. And yet this is THE source of the vast majority of the funding for all our science-based evidence.

Source: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2010/06/12/beatrice-golomb-interview.aspx

Phyllis Wheeler

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