114 thoughts on “Lies, damned lies, and…science-based medicine?

  1. Wales, Maybe this is obvious, but it appears to me that one thing that could slant the numbers you are looking at is that the TAF list is based on false claims act fraud in government contracts and claims. This leads me to conclude that the results are going to be focused on the industries that interact with the government the most, health care, defense/security, probably construction, etc.

    So as far as I can see investment banking, Enron, Madoff, etc would not be included in these lists since the fraud in those cases would have been on stockholders, also apparently the false claims act specifically excludes tax fraud.

    Other have brought up Fannie and Freddie or companies that received bail-out money. I’m not aware that intentional fraud of the government has been proven in these cases, deep levels of ineptitude, yes, burgeoning* greed, yes. The future may (or many not) tell us more regarding government fraud.

    So the main question the top 20 list leaves me with is ‘why not more construction companies and defense security contractors in the top twenty list?’ Maybe I’m just cynical, but I don’t really believe that Halliburton is a beacon of honesty in the corporate world. It makes me wonder if the fraud reporting, investigation and prosecution mechanisms function the same for all industries dealing with government claims.

    Just my two cents.

    *I almost used the words “bludgeoning greed” which is incorrect, but seems somehow more appropriate.

  2. Chris, I would not equate wales and “the other”. Wales has a very particular viewpoint which is often critical of conventional medicine (which does not coincide with mine), but wales manners are much better. He/she* seems more in tune with the realities of everyday life. Also wales is not excruciatingly dull, like “the other”.

    Also my two cents.

    *I respect that people might want a gender neutral persona online, but we really need a better word to refer to an online gender neutral persona. “he/she, he or she” is strange and inelegant, “it” is dehumanizing, “they” is an inappropriate plural. I wish the internet power that be would do something about that.

  3. micheleinmichigan,

    Yay, the internet has done something about it!

    And in particular the comments on this article, discussing the role of Facebook:

    Singular “they” has always been perfectly good English and often turns up even when you might think it was unnecessary.

  4. Alison – Thank you! That’s wonderful, I will start using singular “they” immediately.

  5. Chris says:

    I understand, usually wales is more on point. But for some reason not on this thread with the diversion into the malfeasance by the companies, which mostly are not necessarily the same persons as the researchers. Much of the research being discussed is done through other funding channels. For instance Dr. Mady Hornig’s infamous autistic mice study was financed by SafeMinds, and some of Dr. Gorski’s research has been from federal funds (I think the US Army).

    And I found this quote cited by Dr. Moran interesting:

    - only 7% of the results of “highly cited” (i.e. presumably good quality) medical research papers were subsequently proved to be completely wrong. Non-randomised studies performed much less well but we would predict that and give them a lower status in that hierarchy of evidence that directs our practices.

    (and I was not confusing they … that does not sound right… with the other).

  6. wales says:

    weing said “The cost of breaking the law is factored as a business cost. I’ll have to find where I read that, but I think it explains a lot of the problem with these corporations. Their sole obligation is for profit.” Herein lies the rub: same applies to pharma companies. We’d all like to think they are in it for something more than profits, but it just isn’t true. At least the investment scam artists are honest about their motives. Perhaps it’s a sound investment strategy for the federal government, pouring money into medicare & medicaid and into pharmaceutical companies via pharmaceutical and vaccine procurement, then just cash out by charging the pharma companies with fraud and fining them till the cows come home. It’s all a house of cards.

    I don’t feel so bad criticizing the government since Bill Gross says the Fed is generating a ponzi scheme. “The Fed, in effect, is telling the markets not to worry about our fiscal deficits, it will be the buyer of first and perhaps last resort. There is no need – as with Charles Ponzi – to find an increasing amount of future gullibles, they will just write the check themselves. I ask you: Has there ever been a Ponzi scheme so brazen? There has not.”

    Michele: you are somewhat correct, however, just peruse the litigation section of the SEC website to see the staggering dollar amounts concerning regulatory fines and investment fraud.

    BTW Chris, as for ignoring me, I am happy to return the favor.

  7. Sorry wales, I don’t see your point regarding SEC litigations.

  8. Dr Benway says:

    I’m just glad wales isn’t assuming the role of Officer Tone Patrol.

  9. If there’s going to be a tone patrol, I want to know what key I’m supposed to be in.

  10. Dawn says:

    @micheleinmichigan: B sharp?

  11. Dawn – good one. :]

  12. Chris says:

    Here is a question: Does the sponsor the study influence the scrutiny a study gets? Or the quality of the study?

    Do you look at studies sponsored by a drug company closer than a study sponsored by the government or even a charitable group like SafeMinds, Autism Speaks and Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation?

    I went to the Clinical Trials search page and found a longish list of studies on one drug (kind of chosen at random by waving mouse over screen):

    As I go down I can find the sponsor and collaborators (if they are the same I only put down the sponsor), and here is a partial list (starting from the first and then hitting “next study”):

    National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)

    University of California, San Francisco
    Collaborators: Department of Defense
    Department of Veterans Affairs

    Janssen Korea, Ltd., Korea

    Johnson & Johnson Pharmaceutical Research & Development, L.L.C.

    Janssen Pharmaceutical K.K.

    University of California, San Francisco
    Collaborator: American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery Foundation

    Johns Hopkins University
    Collaborator: National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)

    Chiang Mai University

    University of Cincinnati
    Collaborator: National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)

    Chiang Mai University

    University of Connecticut Health Center
    Collaborator: National Center for Research Resources (NCRR)

    Johnson & Johnson Pharmaceutical Research & Development, L.L.C.

    UCB, Inc

    Brown University
    Collaborator: National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)

    University of Cincinnati
    Collaborator: National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)

    Teva Pharmaceuticals USA

    Massachusetts General Hospital
    Collaborator: National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)

    Cady, Roger, M.D.
    Collaborator: Endo Pharmaceuticals

    …. and on… and on… (there are 175)

    Which of the above sponsors/collaborators are more likely to get close scrutiny or have better quality? There are multiple pharmaceutical companies on the list, are they all suspicious? What about the foundation? Or the government sponsored ones? Does it matter which arm of the government, Dept. of Defense versus National Institute for Drug Abuse? How about the different universities?

    I don’t know if this fits with Dr. Kroll’s article on COI, because not all of them are corporations. But it could be related.

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