Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Medical Journals’ Integrity in Question

I’m bummed. Integrity and honesty are the two qualities of individuals in power positions that I most admire. Even if I don’t agree with someone who acts and speaks with integrity and honesty, I will respect and listen carefully to that person’s ideas – even if they are telling me that studies show the flu vaccine would be good for me and my family, which of course, I don't currently believe.

So today, when I read an article in the Public Library of Science journal that cites evidence that medical journals, their editors, and the peer reviewers who are charged with ensuring that studies being submitted to the journals have met certain criteria (that is, they were done in such a way as to provide legitimate results) are working as marketing agents for the pharmaceutical industry…well, I want to reach for some meds to make me feel better.

Medical journals are cited by everyone as proof of a drug's safety and effectiveness. Vaccines included.

But the man who was the editor of the British Medical Journal for 25 years has called into question the integrity and honesty of the very studies that are reported in medical journals. Richard Smith's analysis of the integrity of studies printed in medical journals found, “Overall, studies funded by a [pharmaceutical] company were four times more likely to have results favourable to the company than studies funded from other sources.”

Other senior people at other medical journals had similarly damning things to say about the integrity of the study results printed on their pages:

It’s a very enlightening, albeit depressing article. Remind me again of whose best interest pharmaceutical companies look out for…it’s the patient’s, right?

1 Comments:

Anonymous Herbinator said...

Hey. Good job. I'm linking to you. Keep it up.

May 17, 2005  

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