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Bad Pharma - What they don't want you to know
in Global

By ZeusAres42ZeusAres42 685 Pts
Doctors and patients need good scientific evidence to make  informed decisions. But instead, companies run bad trials on their own drugs, which distort and exaggerate the benefits by design. When these trials produce unflattering results, the data is simply buried. All of this is perfectly legal. Even government regulators withhold vitally important data from the people who need it most. Doctors and patient groups have stood by too, and instead take payments, in a situation so corrupted that medics and nurses are now educated by the pharmaceutical industry. Patients are being harmed in huge numbers. http://www.pharmaware.co.uk/other-resources.html
Medical students are taught to make decisions for patients on the basis of the best available evidence. What they are invariably not taught is that the evidence is often withheld, analysed inappropriately, and presented in a biased fashion. As the situation currently stands, doctors could end up actively harming patients without even realising; a horrifying thought which is eruditely laid out in Ben Goldacre’s new book ‘Bad Pharma’. https://blogs.plos.org/speakingofmedicine/2012/11/19/book-review-what-can-we-do-about-bad-pharma/
I haven't got round to the reading the Chapter called "Bad Pharma" (also now a book of itself) in Ben Goldacre's book "Bad Science" yet. But basically, from the gist of just skim reading some information it seems that medical research still needs a great deal of improvement in how it's done. Even in the most recent times Doctors have been prescribing drugs for conditions where it was later revealed that the drugs were no different from a placebo (a sugar pill basically). The Doctors themselves cannot be blamed for this; they didn't even know these studies which consisted of negative results existed at the time they were prescribing the drugs.

Now, a lot of us are familiar with the act of cherry picking data to support ideas. However, what appears to be more convincing as well as horrifying is when medical academic researchers do it. So basically, what is happening is that favourable results from studies are being published while undesirable results from the exact same studies are being buried!

Funnily enough I also remember my own Doctor (GP) telling me once that the pharmaceutical industries do have an enormous amount of power and influence of the Doctors. I guess where there is the potential for loads of money to be made some companies will do absolutely anything to make sure they get that product sold!

What do you think about all of this?




“It is impossible for someone to lie unless he thinks he knows the truth. Producing bullsh*t requires no such conviction…”
― Ben Goldacre, Bad Science







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  • That sounds horrific. Such kind of dishonest acts should be eliminated at all cost. However, I doubt if there is any entity that is both powerful and corruption-free enought to effectively to stop them. In addition, considering the fact that pharmaceutical industry generates huge amount of money, I think that nobody would dare sacrifice the money generated by it for honesty and transparency.
    ZeusAres42
  • In most market sectors independent peer-reviewing process is generally provided by companies specialising on customer protection law. They hire private researchers with the sole purpose of finding errors in the companies' research methodology, hidden dangers in the products, discrepancy between the market value of the product and the selling price, and so on. This (not only this, but this is one of the main factors) keeps the companies accountable and puts heavy restrictions on what claims about their products they can make. This is why on many products you see long lists of possible dangers and side effect: companies have to point out the most basic things, such as "there is a chance that your child will take this bag and strangle themselves with it, so keep it away from children", to avoid lawsuits from both the customers and the customer protection companies.

    On the pharma market, however, this independent quality control does not really exist. The government has monopolised the approval and review process by establishing organisations such as FDA, and putting heavy restrictions on what their competitors can do. In addition, private companies pay fees to FDA and other healthcare-related governmental organisations that enforce their monopolies on various sectors of the market. It does not help that the intellectual property laws, especially patent laws, deprive companies of any competitors, and they can produce faulty products without any real repercussions, as the customers will have to buy them with no alternative in place, and customer protection agencies cannot hope to win any lawsuits against the government-backed companies.

    I think that the solution to the problem, as always, is to take the government out of the equation and fully privatise the whole industry. It works in such countries as Switzerland (where the government merely offers tax credits to companies agreeing to abide by certain production standards), Singapore (where the government mostly stays out of the way of pharma companies) or UAE (where pharma companies are affected by some regulations, but not related to intellectual property laws). In the US, unfortunately, the trend has long been in the reverse direction, where the government is brought in to solve the problems it itself created, which is obviously not a sustainable approach.
    ZeusAres42
  • MayCaesar said:
    In most market sectors independent peer-reviewing process is generally provided by companies specialising on customer protection law. They hire private researchers with the sole purpose of finding errors in the companies' research methodology, hidden dangers in the products, discrepancy between the market value of the product and the selling price, and so on. This (not only this, but this is one of the main factors) keeps the companies accountable and puts heavy restrictions on what claims about their products they can make. This is why on many products you see long lists of possible dangers and side effect: companies have to point out the most basic things, such as "there is a chance that your child will take this bag and strangle themselves with it, so keep it away from children", to avoid lawsuits from both the customers and the customer protection companies.

    On the pharma market, however, this independent quality control does not really exist. The government has monopolised the approval and review process by establishing organisations such as FDA, and putting heavy restrictions on what their competitors can do. In addition, private companies pay fees to FDA and other healthcare-related governmental organisations that enforce their monopolies on various sectors of the market. It does not help that the intellectual property laws, especially patent laws, deprive companies of any competitors, and they can produce faulty products without any real repercussions, as the customers will have to buy them with no alternative in place, and customer protection agencies cannot hope to win any lawsuits against the government-backed companies.

    I think that the solution to the problem, as always, is to take the government out of the equation and fully privatise the whole industry. It works in such countries as Switzerland (where the government merely offers tax credits to companies agreeing to abide by certain production standards), Singapore (where the government mostly stays out of the way of pharma companies) or UAE (where pharma companies are affected by some regulations, but not related to intellectual property laws). In the US, unfortunately, the trend has long been in the reverse direction, where the government is brought in to solve the problems it itself created, which is obviously not a sustainable approach.
    Interesting you mentioned Switzerland. If I was to immigrate to another country Switzerland would be at the top of the list, in part the reason being for their health care system.

    “It is impossible for someone to lie unless he thinks he knows the truth. Producing bullsh*t requires no such conviction…”
    ― Ben Goldacre, Bad Science




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