Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Where Can I Turn to get Unbiased Information??

Where can I go to get unbiased information? If I want to see some scientific, peer reviewed information I could go to a respected scientific journal, right? Maybe I could look something up in JAMA (Journal of American Medical Association). I would be angry about its inherent mainstream bias--not looking very intently at things like nutrition, or toxins, etc. But, maybe I could see studies that show numbers about various health issues that I could accept.

I could also look at The Lancet which is a weekly medical journal published by a huge global publisher, Reed Elsevier. Doctors would know of these journals. They would also know of this publisher. It would have a good rep for them.

What if a pharmaceutical company wanted to have its own medical journal--not really peer reviewed there, but it would look reputable? What if they got it published through Reed Elsevier to lend credence and to give their reps the ability to quote published studies to doctors and therefore help them sell their drugs and products more easily to the doctors? The doctors might fall for that, if it seemed real.

"Preposterous!", you say? "That's just conspiracy thinking run amok!", you continue. "No pharmaceutical company would be so unscrupulous as to lie to doctors to get their products sold. No pharmaceutical company would place the emphasis on the bottom line rather than on good science and the welfare of potential patients. That's just crazy! Why, if that were the case, we might have to begin to question everything they do! They would have no credibility! None!!", you go on indignantly defending the pharmaceutical companies, getting progressively incensed with me.

Let's all take a breath, shall we. In, 2, 3, 4, and out, 2, 3, 4, 5 ,6, 7, 8... do it again... OK. Feel better? Now I understand how you worship at the alter of mainstream medicine and it's upsetting to begin to see fissures in the fortress, but take a look with me:

"Merck Makes Phony Peer-Review Journal" as written up in the bioethics blog of The Neiswanger Institute for Bioethics and Health Policy of Loyola School of Medicine.

Read it and then tell me what you think.

What size for your foil hat?


Anonymous said...

Unfortunately it doesn't stop with the medical/pharma professionals. I am a wildlife biologist/ restoration ecologist. I know of a few biologists in my field whose ethics and research should be questioned. These biologists-scientists-researchers (some of my colleagues call them biostitutes) are able to manipulate the wording of the data and/or only chose to produce the positive in industry's favor type of results. It's very disheartening considering there are many of us working hard to conduct and provide valid scientific research, data, and results.

Laura said...

That is disheartening. Is there any kind of oversight--are there penalties of some kind? Oh, I guess not if it's research for a client...


My Dad was a research director for an advertising agency. He routinely told his offices worldwide that they were not to manipulate data. They were to get the facts and present them and then other people would work with it--the creative department, the clients, etc. After that it was out of their hands, but they weren't to spin things at all.

Shouldn't science have at least a bare minimum of the ethics that my father displayed as an ad exec?

Thanks for visiting and commenting Anne.

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