Senate Exploring Med School Profs Putting Names On Ghostwritten Journal Articles In Favor Of Drugs

from the about-time dept

We've had a few posts recently about the growing scandal in the pharma and publishing worlds, whereby big pharma companies would produce fake medical journals with the stamp of approval from big publishing houses, to make it look like their drugs had a lot more scientific support than they really did. To make matters even more insane, often the pharma companies would ghostwrite articles, and then get professors to basically put their names on the works, which were designed to emphasize the benefits of certain drugs, while hiding or de-emphasizing the risks. Copycense points us to the good news that Senator Grassley is at least asking various med schools to explain why this was allowed, while probing how putting professors names on ghostwritten articles is any different than plagiarism.


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  •  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 19th, 2009 @ 8:43pm

    That's a bit of a hypocritical stance for a politician. They don't write their own speeches or even the laws that they introduce.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 19th, 2009 @ 8:57pm

    Why isn't the FDA doing anything? Oh that's right, they're too busy taking away our health freedom by demanding that almonds be pasteurized and banning harmless and beneficial natural medicine like red yeast rice in favor of more dangerous, expensive, and patented drugs.

     

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      zcat (profile), Nov 19th, 2009 @ 10:02pm

      Re:

      ..and patented traditional natural remedies. If someone had managed to take out a patent on red yeast rice already it'd be a whole different story.

       

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        DS, Nov 20th, 2009 @ 4:11am

        Re: Re:

        Or, if someone was able to show in a proper double-blind study that red yeast rice did anything better than a plecibo....

        It's amazing how the 'traditional natural remedy' crowd hides behind the whole "It's not patentable, so it won't be considered a real drug", when they make money had over fist by selling something that has little to no proven medical benefits.

        But what's science when there's 10 generations of mothers who swear it works, right?

        And when I dance in just a specific way, and it rains the next day, it must be because of the way I danced, right?

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Nov 20th, 2009 @ 5:46am

          Re: Re: Re:

          "Or, if someone was able to show in a proper double-blind study that red yeast rice did anything better than a plecibo...."

          You're a dishonest idiot.

          First of all, Red year rice has been taken for years, as a food, by the Chinese and is harmless. The FDA should have to prove it's harmful, not that it's merely effective. They have failed at that.

          Secondly you're wrong about the above. Studies show it to be safer and more effective than the drugs that have killed many people. There are ZERO documented deaths and hardly any documented side effects from red yeast rice despite hundreds of years of use by the Chinese.

          http://forums.christianity.com/m_3777330/mpage_2/tm.htm#4467637

          but of course you exploit the public intellectual propety maximists are too lazy to do a simple google search because your business model consists of lobbying the government for laws that allow you to make money off of the hard work of others so you don't have to do any work.

           

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          Anonymous Coward, Nov 20th, 2009 @ 5:48am

          Re: Re: Re:

          "But what's science when there's 10 generations of mothers who swear it works, right?"

          It's science because STUDIES show it works and is safe.

           

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    elpookie, Nov 19th, 2009 @ 10:48pm

    pharma ghost studies

    Unforunately such practices are not limited to pharma. Studies carried out by certain academics on behalf of a national association of an industry group which shall remain nameless did something similar. The industry provided access to information which they legally claim is privileged, cooked the testing scenario in order to get the best results and then used a forumula that did not comply with the ISO standards in that particular industry. The "study" was then published on a "peer reviewed" journal which consists of other industry hacks and tada, instant "objective" confirmation of industry standards. In the profession that I practice, it seems a common tactic to manufacture "objectivity".

    As for pharma, a bit of math (look at the Vioxx case) shows that it is a profitable risk they run if the particular drug is accepted as standard treatment. Since pharma is not in the business of curing anything, market share is what is important. If the target user is elderly and suffering from a number of health issues the better. If the drug harms (or kills--which allegedly often does the patient, pharma just takes the postion that the exact cause of the harm cannot be established and therfore the harmed party cannot prove the predominate cause of the harm-i.e liability. If that stratergy fails and things go seriously wrong, the worst penalty pharma faces is some form of legal class action which it will generally settle for an amount far short of the profits they collected. Pharma withdraws the drug from the market denies any responsibility and moves on to the next profit item. Zero sum for the consumer good cash for pharma. The FDA? Toothless despite pharma propaganda to the contrary.

    Interestingly not that long ago one company ran testing pending FDA approval and found out that their drug was no better than the placebo. Some drugs now on the market apparently have low levels of "effectiveness" as compared to placebos yet they continue to be sold.

     

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      Starparcel (profile), Nov 19th, 2009 @ 11:02pm

      Re: pharma ghost studies

      You are absolutely right. The system needs to be corrected, to where the penalty exceeds the bottom line. I wish there was a higher calling in Big Pharma to do the right thing, but unless we affect their wallets, they just won't listen. The answer is getting health insurance to apply coverage to holistic medical practice, including accupunture, which at present, do not get medical insurance reimbursements.

       

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    Starparcel (profile), Nov 19th, 2009 @ 10:49pm

    Medical fabrication

    Big Pharma exploitation over expands freedom of the press, to which they are not being held accountable for expounding on benefits that are actually false.

    As usual, its motivation is profits, and monetary fines plus exposure is the only real deterrant they will react to.
    Therefore, this format could be a vehicle to file lawsuits every time they violate the truth.

     

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      DS, Nov 20th, 2009 @ 4:20am

      Re: Medical fabrication

      How about 'Big Vitamin' who skirts the law, sells dangerous products, and keeps their 'natural cures' away from any regulated double blind tests. And the ones that do, when there's an explanation of why you had the results in the first test (hint, Zinc tastes bad. When the placebo tastes as bad as the zinc, they suddenly work exactly the same), they hide or lie.

      You want someone who's not in the business of not curing people? Look at the the companies peddling zinc, homeopathic products, healing foot pads, and the like.

      At least "Big Pharma" has document their proof. Granted, sometimes it's biased, like the article above states, but at the very least, someone had to review the documentation. And there's public outcry about the practice of ghost writing. But products like Airborne? Naa, just change the label slightly, and keep selling people that want to be healthy fizzy vitamins that have never proven to do anything beneficial (outside of the generic small effect that vitamins have to people who are already ingesting the correct amounts in their food).

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Nov 20th, 2009 @ 5:04am

        Re: Re: Medical fabrication

        Exactly. The fact that the pharmaceutical industry is full of dirty tricks and corruption does not make snake oil work any better. More science, less deflection, guys.

         

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        Anonymous Coward, Nov 20th, 2009 @ 5:57am

        Re: Re: Medical fabrication

        The point is that people should have health freedoms but what you want is for our health freedoms to be taken away. The FDA does regulate these natural things to some extent. They don't allow one to claim any medical property on non patented natural cures and they do regulate it so that it contains what it claims to. But if it were up to the FDA they would ban all vitamins, all herbs, most of our foods, etc... which is why the DSHEA was passed, to prevent them from banning harmless foods like garlic and supplements like vitamin C. Not saying it can be used to treat anything but foods are foods and we get our nutrition from foods. Foods have nutrients and they treat those nutrient deficiencies. To say they aren't beneficial to our health and can treat nothing is nonsense. They sustain us, drugs don't sustain us in the same way foods do, so clearly the foods are treating the lack thereof.

        The point is that we should have health freedoms. I do not NEED a third party telling me what someone can and can't sell me, it is NONE of their business. I'm an adult and I don't need the FDA to dictate to me what I can and can't buy. PERIOD. IT'S NOT THEIR STUPID BUSINESS. THEY NEED TO MIND THEIR OWN BUSINESS and if they're not going to do so they need to be disbarred. I don't mind them regulating labels and ensuring that what's on the label is what I'm buyng but for the most part, other than that, they should mind their own business. I'm more qualified to determine what's in MY best interest than they EVER will be being that they aren't me so I don't know that they have my best interest in mind (but I know I have my own best interest in mind).

         

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        Anonymous Coward, Nov 20th, 2009 @ 6:02am

        Re: Re: Medical fabrication

        "At least "Big Pharma" has document their proof. Granted, sometimes it's biased, like the article above states, but at the very least, someone had to review the documentation. And there's public outcry about the practice of ghost writing. But products like Airborne? Naa, just change the label slightly, and keep selling people that want to be healthy fizzy vitamins that have never proven to do anything beneficial (outside of the generic small effect that vitamins have to people who are already ingesting the correct amounts in their food)."

        Even if they're not beneficial, and I personally do not take dietary supplements or vitamins BTW (I try to get my nutrients from foods and I recommend that to everyone) the point is that there is a huge difference between telling lies on what a study shows and selling a product under the pretext that it's good for you but not claiming there are any studies showing it. People aren't stupid, they know the difference between marketing hype claiming something and a study claiming something, but we also don't want to be lied to in regards to someone saying that there is a study showing something when in fact the study was fabricated.

         

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 20th, 2009 @ 6:27am

    Oh good god

    This is exactly the problem with the snake oil marketers. They have this whole shtick about "oh, we're not allowed to sell this because the FDA won't let us." It's nonsense. Those products (especially the ones that are also food?) are on the shelves of every supermarket. They aren't being prohibited from selling anything. They're only being restricted from advertising things as treatments for ailments.

    Showing that this or that thing is harmless doesn't mean anything. Lots of things are harmless. Sell and ingest as much of it as you want. No one's stopping anyone from doing it. Just don't market it as a way of treating specific ailments unless it does, in fact, treat specific ailments consistently in ways that can be demonstrated with replicable results. The fact that drug makers get a pass on that very thing a lot of the time is the problem here, not that other remedies don't also get a pass.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Nov 20th, 2009 @ 6:33am

      Re: Oh good god

      "No one's stopping anyone from doing it."

      This is not true at all. Lots of things are BANNED (ie: red yeast rice naturally containing more than just trace amounts of lovastatin, which has been sued by the chinese, and is harmless, for hundreds of years. Also many variants of Ephedra are banned for no good reason despite use by the Chinese for a very long time) for NO GOOD REASON. It's not their business to dictate to me what I can and can't ingest. NONE OF THEIR BUSINESS, PERIOD. Even if there maybe some harm to it, though there really isn't, it's NOT their business. Furthermore, I should be allowed to buy independent books claiming any medicinal properties if i so wish to (and I'm not saying they necessarily block this). It's NONE of their business, ABSOLUTELY NONE of their business. PERIOD. I can't emphasize this enough. our government can't manage their own budgets yet alone my health, they need to MIND THEIR OWN STUPID BUSINESS.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Nov 20th, 2009 @ 6:43am

      Re: Oh good god

      and to say that the FDA always acts in our best interest or at least intends to is nonsense. our FDA is a corrupt organization, I really think society would be better off without them. Furthermore, I think many of the people running the FDA, at least while Bush was in office, should be locked up in jail. See

      http://online.wsj.com/article/SB125622345164801405.html

      http://www.aboutlawsuits.com/fda-o versight-of-unproven-drugs-lacking-6627/

      I think the FDA has made it very clear that they're not very interested in the best interest of the American people and that they are FAR more interest in the profit margins of large pharmaceutical corporations. But they seem to be somewhat less harmful under Obama I would give them that. Under Bush they took away our health freedoms for no good reason and were mostly unaccountable for anything (ie: the reports above largly concern the time period under Bush even). Also see

      http://forums.christianity.com/m_3795161/mpage_3/key_FDA/tm.htm#4102337

      Seriously, while democrats are pretty bad, in the case of the FDA I fear having the republicans in office again, they aren't free market capitalists at all. The Republicans are worse than the democrats when it comes to promoting a tyrant plutocracy at public expense. Personally though I'm libertarian / pirate partisan and I would like to see someone like Ron Paul become president.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Nov 20th, 2009 @ 7:34pm

      Re: Oh good god

      This is exactly the problem with the snake oil marketers. They have this whole shtick about "oh, we're not allowed to sell this because the FDA won't let us." It's nonsense. Those products (especially the ones that are also food?) are on the shelves of every supermarket. They aren't being prohibited from selling anything. They're only being restricted from advertising things as treatments for ailments.

      Oh yeah, for example the shelves ar Walmart are just loaded with medical marijuana.

      Bull.

       

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    TDR, Nov 20th, 2009 @ 9:44am

    And this is why we need to go in the direction of Patch Adams and the Gesundheit Hospital - medicine without a profit motive, only care and concern for patients and no financial obligation from said patients. Being healthy isn't something we should have to pay for, at least as far as medical care. It's something that should be a natural right.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Nov 20th, 2009 @ 6:36pm

      Re:

      It's something that should be a natural right.

      AT least it should be a natural right that one can choose one's own doctor (including what qualifications one wants in their doctor) and the right to prescribe one's own remedies. Instead, we have gov't regulation of the medical industry that reduces choice and competition combined with no control on the cost. You can either get the health care they want you to at the price they want or you can die. Your choice.

       

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    World Vitamins Online, Nov 20th, 2009 @ 11:06am

    Big Pharma

    Big Pharma can expect more of the same if health care reform is passed. This is long overdue.

     

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