As I point out in “Is It Possible Some Doctors Still Don’t “Get” the Extent of Big Pharma’s Connection to ‘Standard of Care’ Research?”, I believe that somehow (although I am not sure exactly how) many physicians have managed not to read the hundreds, if not thousands, of articles in the press –- articles exposing the financial connections between Big Pharma and the Medical Establishment. So many of these articles have appeared in medical journals, such as the New England Journal of Medicine ( NEJM ) and the Journal of the American Medical Association ( JAMA ); and in well-regarded lay publications, such as the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times.
Somehow, I am convinced that if more doctors had read these articles, they would not continue to rely so heavily on the results of studies that are published in their medical journals: results which tout the benefits of pharmaceuticals; results which are often financed by Big Pharma.
If they had read even a small number of these articles, they would know that 80% of the studies being reported on in their journals are funded and overseen by pharmaceutical companies, and that the journal articles themselves have often been written by Big Pharma employees.
They would know, as I have pointed out before, that those who conduct and write about these studies “cheat” in so many ways -- by:
• “ R igging” the so-called studies, which they themselves fund
37 ARTICLES THAT REVEAL BIG PHARMA’S DUPLICITY
I have prepared the following list of 37 articles for doctors and patients to read, and discuss together. These articles attest to Big Pharma’s influence on the results of clinical trials, on the doctors/researchers who conduct the trials, and on the doctors who prescribe these medications to their patients. With each article, I have included a few paragraphs, and have bolded certain portions for emphasis. I have also included hyperlinks, so you and your doctor can read the entire articles and talk about them.
The articles appear in chronological order. You may also access this list as a pdf file, so that you can share it with your doctors.
But before you continue reading this posting, I urge you to read this brief overview of the history of medical research -- which I have prepared and paraphrased from Dr. John Abramson’s excellent book, Overdosed America: The Broken Promise of American Medicine. It tells how medical research went from being almost 100% reliable to being up to 80% unreliable.)
THE 37 ARTICLES
1) Not In My Name, The Guardian, Adriane Fugh-Berman, MD, April 21, 2005
2) The Corporate Coauthor, Society of General Internal Medicine, Adriane Fugh-Berman, MD, June 2005
3) The Effect of Conflict of Interest on Biomedical Research and Clinical Practice Guidelines: Can We Trust the Evidence in Evidence-Based Medicine? -- John Abramson, MD, MSFP and Barbara Starfield, MD, MPH, Journal of the American Board of Family Practice, September–October 2005 Vol. 18 No. 5
4) Drug Profits Infect Medical Studies -- Los Angeles Times, by John Abramson, MD, January 7, 2006
5) Cancer docs profit from chemotherapy drugs, Situation begs the ethical question: Are they overprescribing?, NBC News, Rehema Ellis, September 21, 2006
6) Patient groups special: Swallowing the best advice?, The New Scientist, Jessica Marshall, Peter Aldhous, October 27, 2006
7) Doctors must not be lapdogs to drug firms, British Medical Journal, Adriane Fugh-Berman, November 11, 2006
9) Doctors’ Ties to Drug Makers Are Put on Close View, New York Times, Gardiner Harris and Janet Roberts, March 21, 2007
10) Doctors Reap Millions for Anemia Drugs, New York Times, Alex Berenson and Andrew Pollack, May 9, 2007
11) Drug firms accused of biasing doctors' training: The uneasy link between industry and education, Nature.com, Jim Giles, November 20, 2007
12) Dr. Drug Rep, New York Times, Daniel Carlat, November 25, 2007
13) Conflicts in CT Lung Cancer Research Back in Spotlight -- Wall Street Journal, David Armstrong, January 18, 2008
15) Curbing Conflicts of Interest in Medicine, Gooznews.com, Merrill Goozner, March 14, 2008
16) Some Cancer Trials Overstate Findings: Analysis Claims Group-randomized research sometimes uses inappropriate statistical analysis of a prevention effort, HealthDay News, Kevin McKeever, March 25, 2008
16) Congress: Vytorin Makers Held Bad News: Congress Releases Evidence Merck, Schering-Plough, Delayed Releasing Bad Vytorin Results, Associated Press, Linda A. Johnson, April 1, 2008
17) Accusations of Delays in Releasing Drug Results, New York Times, Alex Berenson, April 1, 2008
18) Welcome to Pharmageddon, Where Pills Make Us Sicker, Consumers Union, Daniela Nunez, April 2, 2008
19) Ghostwriters Used in Vioxx Studies, Article Says, New York Times, Stephanie Saul, April 15, 2008
20) Guest authorship and ghostwriting in publications related to rofecoxib [Vioxx]: a case study of industry documents from rofecoxib litigation, JS Ross, KP Hill, DS Egilman, HM Krumholz, Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), April 16, 2008. ( The whole article may be found for free online.)
21) Reporting mortality findings in trials of rofecoxib for Alzheimer disease or cognitive impairment: a case study based on documents from rofecoxib [Vioxx] litigation, Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), BM Psaty and RA Kronmal, April 16, 2008. ( The entire article may be found online for free.)
22) Impugning the Integrity of Medical Science: The Adverse Effects of Industry Influence, Editorial by Catherine D. DeAngelis, MD and Phil B. Fontanarosa, MD, The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), April 16, 2008. (The abstract is not yet online at PubMed. The editorial in its entirety may be found for free.)
IMPORTANT NOTE: In a surprising move, JAMA sent out a video news release (VNR) -- a polished video, ready for airing on television stations -- which it distributed to media outlets throughout the country. You may view the VNR on the JAMA website. You may read the transcript of the video.
24) How Do US Journalists Cover Treatments, Tests, Products, and Procedures? An Evaluation of 500 Stories, Plos Medicine, Gary Schwitzer, May 2008
25) Stealth Marketers: ARE DOCTORS SHILLING FOR DRUG COMPANIES ON PUBLIC RADIO?, Slate.com, Shannon Brownlee and Jeanne Lenzer, May 9, 2008
27) Harvard Psychiatrists Under Fire for Drug-Company Funding, Wall Street Journal, Scott Hensley, June 9, 2008
28) Drugmakers Fund Journalism Group, Wall Street Journal, David Armstrong, July 25, 2008
30) Big Pharma Pushes Drugs That Cause Conditions They Are Supposed to Prevent, Alternet, Martha Rosenberg, July 24, 2008
31) Lilly Trained Reps to ‘Neutralize’ Zyprexa-Diabetes Link, Wall Street Journal, Jacob Goldstein, July 31, 2008
32) Feds May Fund Program to Counter Drug Rep Sales Pitches, Wall Street Journal, Jacob Goldstein, July 31, 2008
33) Brain Infections Return for Multiple Sclerosis Drug Tysabri, Wall Street Journal, Jacob Goldstein, August 1, 2008
Honest Medicine EDITOR’S NOTE: This is one of the drugs that doctors often prescribe for MS patients rather than Low Dose Naltrexone.
34) Senator Kohl Asks Questions About Cardiology Pact, Wall Street Journal, Scott Hensley, August 4, 2008
35) FDA Puts $50,000 Cap on Conflicts in Advisory Hearings, Wall Street Journal, Sarah Rubenstein, August 4, 2008
36) Disclosure of Industry Payments to Physicians, New England Journal of Medicine: Volume 359:559-561, Robert Steinbrook, M.D, August 7, 2008
Most physicians in the United States have financial relationships with industry, ranging from the acceptance of meals to the receipt of large sums of money for consulting, speaking, or conducting research.
37) Was a Vioxx Study ‘Marketing Framed As Science’?, Wall Street Journal, Jacob Goldstein, August 18, 2008
A study of Merck’s painkiller Vioxx may have been published in a reputable medical journal, but it was designed as a marketing tool, not a scientific investigation. That’s the argument put forward in a paper published today – in Annals of Internal Medicine, the same journal that published the study in the first place.
Nonsense, says Merck, the trial was good science designed to answer meaningful questions.