Critics Fume as Big Pharma Funds Drug Studies
'The evidence base has been perverted,' expert says
By Neal Colgrass, Newser Staff
Posted Nov 25, 2012 1:25 PM CST
This Thursday, Dec. 29, 2011 photo shows the entrance to the editorial offices of the New England Journal of Medicine in Boston.   (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

(Newser) – Think studies of new drugs in the New England Journal of Medicine are unassailable? Experts are beginning to wonder, because pharmaceutical companies pay academics to conduct many of those studies—and the approval of high-profile drugs like Vioxx, Avandia, and Celebrex has led to thousands of deaths, the Washington Post reports. There's no proof that academics paid by Big Pharma altered their findings, and drug companies insist they play fair, but one analysis shows that industry-sponsored studies are 3.6 times more likely to approve a drug. "Unfortunately, the entire evidence base has been perverted," says a Yale professor.

What's more, drug companies are moving trials from nonprofit academic hospitals to for-profit organizations—where, critics say, corporate influence is far more likely. A Senate investigation into GlaxoSmithKline has already uncovered evidence that the company influenced studies of its diabetes drug, Avandia, to disguise potential heart dangers. And Journal editor Jeffrey Drazen is caught in the middle: "I lie awake at night because I know somebody somewhere is trying to pull a fast one on me," he says. "Have we plugged every leak?" One proposed solution: forcing drug companies to release all of their findings, pro and con—a move now being promoted by the European Medicines Agency.

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Showing 3 of 18 comments
HANKHILL
Nov 27, 2012 12:22 PM CST
awwwwwwwwwwwww come on now our "stuff" works! just because the boss wont take any dont mean notten. he just dont like the color thats all!
mind_riot
Nov 27, 2012 12:57 AM CST
I liked this better when it was it was the plot of idiocracy now with "electralites "
ppaca
Nov 26, 2012 10:21 PM CST
Yes, of course, eveyone posting on this site is a medical doctor who knows everything there is to know about pharmacology. There is no reason whatsoever to not trust everything they say. They know all the discreet details of drug trials. Yes, trust their opinions and no one else's, except maybe your own. After all, what does your personal physician know? He only spent 20 years in school and several more years in internship to get where he is. He will never give you an honest answer, even if ask him all the right questions after you've researched the problem. Believe only the people posting here, for they know all. That's why Newser keeps them on staff - just to answer the medical questions.