Covid19 – the final nail in coffin of medical research

Posted by Ed 37 days ago

“The lamps are going out all over Europe, we shall not see them lit again in our life-time.” Edward Grey

Several years ago, I wrote a book called Doctoring Data. It was my attempt to help people navigate their way through medical headlines and medical data.

One of the main reasons I was stimulated to write it, is because I had become deeply concerned that science, especially medical science, had been almost fully taken over by commercial interests. With the end result that much of the data we were getting bombarded with was enormously biased, and thus corrupted. I wanted to show how some of this bias gets built in.

I was not alone in my concerns. As far back as 2005, John Ioannidis wrote the very highly cited paper ‘Why most Published Research Findings are False’. It has been downloaded and read by many, many, thousands of researchers over the years, so they can’t say they don’t know:

‘Moreover for many current scientific fields, claimed research findings may often be simply accurate measures of the prevailing bias.’1

Marcia Angell, who edited the New England Journal of Medicine for twenty years, wrote the following. It is a quote I have used many times, in many different talks:

‘It is simply no longer possible to believe much of the clinical research that is published, or to rely on the judgement 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.’

Peter Gotzsche, who set up the Nordic Cochrane Collaboration, and who was booted out of said Cochrane collaboration for questioning the HPV vaccine (used to prevent cervical cancer) wrote the book. ‘Deadly Medicine and Organised Crime. [How big pharma has corrupted healthcare]’.

The book cover states… ‘The main reason we take so many drugs is that drug companies don’t sell drugs, they sell lies about drugs… virtually everything we know about drugs is what the companies have chosen to tell us and our doctors… if you don’t believe the system is out of control, please e-mail me and explain why drugs are the third leading cause of death.’

Richard Smith edited the British Medical Journal (BMJ) for many years. He now writes a blog, amongst other things. A few years ago, he commented:

‘Twenty years ago this week, the statistician Doug Altman published an editorial in the BMJ arguing that much medical research was of poor quality and misleading. In his editorial entitled ‘The scandal of Poor Medical Research.’ Altman wrote that much research was seriously flawed through the use of inappropriate designs, unrepresentative sample, small sample, incorrect methods of analysis and faulty interpretation… Twenty years later, I feel that things are not better, but worse…

In 2002 I spent eight marvellous weeks in a 15th palazzo in Venice writing a book on medical journals, the major outlets for medical research, and the dismal conclusion that things were badly wrong with journals and the research they published. My confidence that ‘things can only get better’ has largely drained away.’

Essentially, medical research has inexorably turned into an industry. A very lucrative industry. Many medical journals now charge authors thousands of dollars to publish their research. This ensures that it is very difficult for any researcher, not supported by a university, or a pharmaceutical company, to afford to publish anything, unless they are independently wealthy.

The journals then have the cheek to claim copyright, and charge money to anyone who actually wants to read, or download the full paper. Fifty dollars for a few on-line pages! They then bill for reprints, they charge for advertising. Those who had the temerity to write the article get nothing – and nor do the peer reviewers.

Please support our advertisers:

< Back to main category

Login now