How the Drug Industry Deceives Doctors |
Following doctor's orders has become synonymous with danger. Every year, FDA
approved drugs kill twice as many people as the total number of U.S. deaths
from the Vietnam War. Death by medicine flourishes because deceit, not
science, governs a doctor's prescribing habits. As an ex-drug chemist, I
witnessed this first-hand.
This deceit comes in many forms. Medical ghostwriting and checkbook science
are the most prominent.
Doctors rely on peer-reviewed medical journals to learn about prescription
drugs. These journals include the Lancet, British Medical Journal, New
England Journal of Medicine and the Journal of the American Medical
Association. It is assumed that these professional journals offer the hard
science behind any given drug. This assumption is wrong. Medical journals
can't be trusted thanks to medical ghost writing.
Medical ghostwriting is the practice of hiring PhD's to crank out drug
reports that hype benefits and hide negative side effects. Once complete,
drug companies recruit doctor's to put their name on the report as authors.
These reports are then published in the above mentioned medical journals.
The carrot for this deceitful practice is money and prestige. Ghostwriters
can receive up to $20,000 per report. Doctors receive prestige from having
been published. Ultimately, patients get bad drugs disguised as good
As deplorable as medical ghostwriting sounds, it is more common than you
think. Dr. David Healy, of the University of Whales, predicts that 50% of
journal drug reviews are written by ghostwriters.
Dr. Jeffrey Drazen, editor for the New England Journal of Medicine, insists
that he cannot find drug review authors who do not have financial ties to
drug companies. As a result, the journal had to relax their
conflict-of-interest rules in 2000.
The editor of the British Journal of Medicine has acknowledged that medical
ghostwriting has become a serious problem for his publication: "We are being
hoodwinked by the drug companies. The articles come in with doctors' names
on them and we often find some of them have little or no idea about what
they have written."
Consider the testimony from deputy editor of The Journal of the American
Medical Association: "This [journal articles] is all about bypassing
science. Medicine is becoming a sort of Cloud Cuckoo Land, where doctors don't
know what papers they can trust in the journals, and the public doesn't want
Other weapons of mass deception exist - checkbook science. As defined by
Diana Zuckerman, PhD, checkbook science is research intended not to expand
knowledge or to benefit humanity, but instead to sell drugs. It has stolen
the very soul of University research, scientific method, and the patients
who serve as human subjects.
Drug companies use checkbook science to sponsor their own drug research via
the halls of academia and government institutions. Money is used to design
their own studies, interpret the results, and stuff negative data under the
drug-rug. The drug-rug is a behemoth rug. It has to be. A myriad of negative
drug data exists.
Like medical ghostwriting, checkbook science is more common than you think.
A third of academic professors have personal financial ties to drug
makers. Called the "Stealth Merger" by the LA Times, top scientists at
the National Institutes of Health also collect paychecks and stock options
from the drug industry. This has been going on for over 20 years.
Known as the Bayh-Dole Act, U.S law was amended in 1980 to allow for these
flagrant conflicts of interest.
This calculated deceit is scandalous. Hopefully the line at the
pharmaceutical trough gets shorter as this scandal becomes public. Though,
drug makers have an insurance policy for this - Direct-to-Consumer
advertising. The oft repeated "ask your doctor" ensures that the herd
instinctively embraces drugs, drugs and more drugs.
Understanding medical ghost writing and checkbook science explains why
medical doctors have been hypnotized into drug worship - they only see the
positive. It also explains why modern medicine is more deadly and lucrative
than war - the danger has been silenced with the pen and money.
Drug companies do not take responsibility for the wonton prescription drug
deceit. Instead, victims have been made invisible - dehumanized. They are
not recognized as children, or men with significant contribution to society.
Their deaths are simply shrugged off and attributed to sickness or aging.
Those who profit from prescription drugs should hold some sort of record for
the having the most reckless disregard for human life. If the deceit
continues the prescription drug leviathan will silently kill more people
than Napalm dropped on Vietnamese villages.
About the Author
Ellison's entire career has been dedicated to the study of molecules; how
they give life and how they take from it. He was a two-time recipient of the
prestigious Howard Hughes Medical Institute Research Grant for his research
in biochemistry and physiology. He is a bestselling author, holds a master's
degree in organic chemistry and has first-hand experience in drug design.
Use his knowledge and insight to look and feel your best in 90 days with his
AM-PM Fat Loss Discovery.
1. Approximately 58,000 American's died in Vietnam. FDA approved drugs kill
106 - 125,000 people per year when used as prescribed.
2. Source: CBC's Marketplace. Aired March 25, 2003. Researcher Colman Jones.
3. Antony Barnett. Revealed: how drug firms 'hoodwink' medical journals.
Pharmaceutical giants hire ghostwriters to produce articles - then put
doctors' names on them. The Observer. Sunday December 7, 2003
4. Tufts eNews. Relaxing The Rules. Does the New England Journal of Medicine's
decision to relax its conflict of interest policy strengthen or weaken the
prestigious publication? Boston [06.19.02]
6. Shannon Brownlee. Doctors Without Borders. Why you can't trust medical
journals anymore. Washington Monthly. April 2003.
7. Zuckerman, D. Hype in health reporting: "checkbook science" buys
distortion of medical news. International Journal of Health Services.
8. Bekelman, J.E., Li, Y. and Gross, C. P. Scope and impact of financial
conflicts of interest in biomedical research. Journal of the American
Medical Association. 289: 454-465.
9. William D. Stealth merger: drug companies and government medical
research. Los Angeles Times. 2003 Dec 7;:A1, A32-3.