In the previous post, the fat nurse took a look at a critique showing the inconsistencies and biased research in a study involving statins. How often does biased research occur? According to UCSD Medical School professor Dr. Beatrice Golomb…a heck of a lot:
The entire video is worth a look and is meant to address data manipulation as a whole and she uses Statins quite a bit as examples. The main points:
1) Funding: Pretty much all of the large randomized trials for drugs such as statins are funded by the drug companies. NIH is the second largest but has ties to industry.
2) Publishing: There is evidence showing that studies funded by the drug companies are vastly more likely to be published while studies that are negative are not published, or they are publish in a manner that conveys the drug as having potential outcomes. There is also a part where positive studies are duplicated and resubmitted using different authors (this sounds too unbelievable to be true)!?
3) Comparison study results are determined by the sponsor: 5:55 in the video had me laughing. When comparison of one drug vs another are done, the drug on top is usually the sponsor. Which is how you can find logic in statin studies that show: A beats B. B beats C. C beats D. And D beats A.
4) Results can be interpreted as positive in the conclusion even when results are a negative outcome.
5) Biased Authors: Not surprisingly, authors that have ties to certain drugs will portray them in positive light versus authors without ties.
6) Ghost writing: Drug companies pay for positive articles and then pay other doctors and pharmacists to sign their name to the articles as if they wrote them originally and independently.
7) Medical Journals are biased: Journals can be used for laundering and promoting products in which Dr. Golomb reports can be up to $100,000 per positive article.
8) Medical Education: The Drug companies spend $18.5 billion a year which is roughly $30,000 annually for every doctor in America. In addition, the Accrediting Commission for Continuing Medical Education has almost half of its members linked in some form to the pharmaceutical industry.