In a very legitimate way pharmaceutical companies are looting us, seriously. Last week I was reading a book “Bad Pharma” written by Mr. Ben Goldarce, a British physician and science writer. I was really astonished and still trying to digest the facts mentioned by him. We are being prowled and defraud in a very sophisticated way.
I really started to think that what could be the reason that pharmaceutical companies are heavily funding medicine trials. This is as surprising as ExxonMobil funding for environmental studies and dangerous effects of petroleum on environment and global warming. It’s so influential that as per article published in The Guardian:
Similarly pharmaceutical companies are influencing govt. representatives and drug regulatory agencies. In order to influence politicians, pharmaceutical companies have spent more than any other industry, after weapon industry. Over past decade, they have dispensed around 2.5 billion USD for funding members of congress. Around 95% senators of United States have taken campaign contributions from pharmaceutical companies. Basic cause of these funding was to affect legislation either regarding cost of drug or how new medicines are approved.
Favorable results oriented sponsorship
Trials funded by industry are likely to compose positive and suitable results than independent state trials. Research and trials are so precisely maneuvered that research needs Re-search. In 2006 researchers looked into trials of psychiatric drugs tried over past decade, they found 542 total trial outcomes. Stunningly trials sponsored by industry got 78% favorable results, while state funded trials gave only 48% positive result in total.
In 2007, researchers also looked into every published trial to explore benefits of a drug named Statin. It’s a chemical agent used in cholesterol lowering drugs and for cardiovascular diseases (used in Lipitor, lescol and crestor etc). It was being prescribed by many physicians. Study shows that total 192 trials were conducted to compare statin against other kind of treatments. It was found that trials conducted through funds by pharma companies, were 20 times more likely to give favorable results. Isn’t there something fishy?
All you need to know about of piece of work to foresee its result i.e. industry-funded trial had positive results. If it is funded by pharmaceutical companies you can say with certainty that the trial found the drug wonderful.
Why is it crucial to publish trials and experiment report?
Research is not only an abstract but it directly related to suffering, pain or even death for future volunteers. In 2006 drug named Theralizumab were given to six volunteers in Britain. Within one hour they felt headaches, then shivering and low blood pressure, their lungs filled with fluid. At the end of day all were admitted in ICU with multiple organ failure. They were rescued but have to live with life-long effects on their health.
This was a catastrophic event. Department of health arranged group of scientific expert to understand what happened and how this can be stopped in future. It was a molecule attaches with receptor on while blood cells of immune system. Most surprising factor in the final report of experts was that, ten years back same experiment was conducted. Subject on whom this was tested also become unwell. But nobody could have known because the outcomes were neither share nor published in any scientific community. If they have published those results, they could have save these volunteers from terrifying sufferings.
Academic journals are maneuvered and seriously unsafe.
Most of the time academic journals are maneuvered by pharma industry. Mr. Goldarce shared his personal experience in his book. He mentioned that while treating his patient, he prescribed him antidepressant drug named Reboxetine after reading a trial data. Published results showed that it’s as good as any other antidepressant and approved for use in U.K. So comparatively it was safe and effective treatment. But he was misled, as in 2010 a group of researchers finally bring together all unpublished trials conducted on reboxetine. They investigated thoroughly in academic journals, gathered documents from regulators and collected data from manufacturers. Putting together all data (published and unpublished), picture it produced was shocking as Mr. Goldarce described in his book;
“Seven trials had been conducted comparing reboxetine against placebo. Only one, conducted in 254 patients, had a neat, positive result, and that one was published in an academic journal, for doctors and researchers to read. But six more trials were conducted, in almost ten times as many patients. All of them showed that reboxetine was no better than a dummy sugar pill. None of these trials was published. I had no idea they existed.”
But nothing wrong was done by Mr. Goldarce and he was justified. He did everything a doctor was supposed to. He read published journals, critically evaluated them, discussed with his patient and based on entire evidence made a mutual decision. In trials, which were published, reboxetine was showed as effective and safe drug. He mentioned that this was no better than a sugar pill even worse and it does more harm than good. Twofold harms, firstly not treating the disease and secondly body was receiving side effects of reboxetine. All this was done because due to the influence of pharma industry, important and critical data was left unpublished.
Due to this bias publication and non-publishing very important study, Pharma companies are tampering evidence in medical science. Such trial studies are only source which can show that any medicine is working or not. Unfortunately, even regulatory authorities are helpless and have done nothing to stop publication bias.
Legal as well as wicked:
Surprisingly, while practicing unethically and unprincipled profit sloping business, they have done nothing illegal. Pharma companies run their business through a system and while exploiting its loopholes. As in the case of reboxetine, they didn’t break any law, and medicine is still in the market. Negative and disfavoring data goes unpublished for all treatments.