Faking medical reality
“It is simply no longer possible to believe much of the clinical research that is published, or to rely on the judgment of trusted physicians or authoritative medical guidelines. I take no pleasure in this conclusion, which I reached slowly and reluctantly over my two decades as an editor of The New England Journal of Medicine.” —Marcia Angell, MD
“The secret of acting is sincerity. If you can fake that, you’ve got it made.” —George Burns
The faking of medical reality is, at bottom, an operation designed to bolster the power of the medical cartel, one of the most important forces on the planet.
What do doctors rely on? What do medical schools rely on? What do medical journals and mainstream medical reporters and drug companies and the FDA rely on?
The sanctity of published clinical trials of drugs. These trials determine whether the drugs are safe and effective. The drugs are tested on human volunteers. The results are tabulated. The trial is described in a paper that is printed by a medical journal.
This is science. This is rationality. This is the rock. Without these studies, the whole field of medical research would fall apart in utter chaos.
Upon this rock, and hence through media, the public becomes aware of the latest breakthrough, the newest medicine. Through doctors in their offices, the public finds out what drugs they should take—and their doctors know because their doctors have read the published reports in the medical journals, the reports that describe the clinical trials. Or if the doctors haven’t actually read the reports, they’ve been told about them.
It all goes back to this rock.
And when mainstream advocates attack so-called alternative or natural health, they tend to mention that their own sacred profession is based on real science, on studies, on clinical trials.
One doctor told me, “The clinical trials and published studies are what keep us from going back to the Stone Age.”
So now let me quote an article in the NY Review of Books (May 12, 2011) by Helen Epstein, “Flu Warning: Beware the Drug Companies.”
“Six years ago, John Ioannidis, a professor of epidemiology at the University of Ioannina School of Medicine in Greece, found that nearly half of published articles in scientific journals contained findings that were false, in the sense that independent researchers couldn’t replicate them. The problem is particularly widespread in medical research, where peer-reviewed articles in medical journals can be crucial in influencing multimillion- and sometimes multibillion-dollar spending decisions. It would be surprising if conflicts of interest did not sometimes compromise editorial neutrality, and in the case of medical research, the sources of bias are obvious. Most medical journals receive half or more of their income from pharmaceutical company advertising and reprint orders, and dozens of others [journals] are owned by companies like Wolters Kluwer, a medical publisher that also provides marketing services to the pharmaceutical industry.”
Here’s another quote from the same article:
“The FDA also relies increasingly upon fees and other payments from the pharmaceutical companies whose products the agency is supposed to regulate. This could contribute to the growing number of scandals in which the dangers of widely prescribed drugs have been discovered too late. Last year, GlaxoSmithKline’s diabetes drug Avandia was linked to thousands of heart attacks, and earlier in the decade, the company’s antidepressant Paxil was discovered to exacerbate the risk of suicide in young people. Merck’s painkiller Vioxx was also linked to thousands of heart disease deaths. In each case, the scientific literature gave little hint of these dangers. The companies have agreed to pay settlements in class action lawsuits amounting to far less than the profits the drugs earned on the market. These precedents could be creating incentives for reduced vigilance concerning the side effects of prescription drugs in general.”
Also from the NY Review of Books, here are two quotes from Marcia Angell, former editor-in-chief of The New England Journal of Medicine, perhaps the most prestigious medical journal in the world. (“Drug Companies and Doctors: A Story of Corruption”)
“Consider the clinical trials by which drugs are tested in human subjects. Before a new drug can enter the market, its manufacturer must sponsor clinical trials to show the Food and Drug Administration that the drug is safe and effective, usually as compared with a placebo or dummy pill. The results of all the trials (there may be many) are submitted to the FDA, and if one or two trials are positive—that is, they show effectiveness without serious risk—the drug is usually approved, even if all the other trials are negative.”
Here is another Angell statement:
“In view of this control and the conflicts of interest that permeate the enterprise, it is not surprising that [drug] industry-sponsored trials published in medical journals consistently favor sponsors’ drugs—largely because negative results are not published, positive results are repeated in slightly different forms, and a positive spin is put on even negative results. A review of seventy-four clinical trials of antidepressants, for example, found that thirty-seven of thirty-eight positive studies were published. But of the thirty-six negative studies, thirty-three were either not published or published in a form that conveyed a positive outcome.”
It turns out that the source of the informational pipeline that feeds the entire perception of pharmaceutical medicine is a rank fraud.
It would be on the order of an intelligence agency discovering that the majority of its operatives were actually working for the other side.
And then continuing on with business as usual.
Sometimes the body is dead even though it keeps on walking. It can smile and nod and perform basic functions—a zombie—but it is doing so only because certain implacable criminals back it up and give it a machine-like force.
“We have the clinical trials of studies on drugs and they are published in top-rank journals. We are the epitome of science.”
Yes, false science. Riddled from top to bottom with lies.
Perhaps this will help the next time a friend, pretending he actually knows anything, tells you pharmaceutical medicine is a resounding success.
If you need more, cite Dr. Barbara Starfield’s famous study, “Is US Health Really the Best in the World?”, Journal of the American Medical Association, July 26, 2000. Starfield concludes that 225,000 people are killed by the medical system in the US every year—106,000 by FDA-approved medicines. That latter figure would work out to over a MILLION deaths per decade.
A final note: The august editors of medical journals have a game they can play. Suppose a drug company has just finished writing up the results of a clinical drug trial and has submitted the piece to a journal for publication. The editor knows the company carried out a half-dozen other such trials on the same drug…and they didn’t look good. The drug caused wild fluctuations in blood pressure and blood sugar. There were heart attacks. Strokes. But this ONE study, the one submitted for publication, looks very positive. The editor knows if he prints it and forgets about “ethics,” the drug company will order re-prints of the piece from him and distribute them to doctors all over the world, and to reporters, professors, government officials. The drug company will order and pay for so many re-prints, the medical journal can make $700,000 from publishing THAT ONE STUDY. Let’s see. In one hand, the editor sees: I won’t publish it=no money. In the other hand, he sees: I’ll publish it=$700,000. What to do?
(To read about Jon’s mega-collection, The Matrix Revealed, click here.)