Drug companies use a
number of tricks to ensure that they get the results they want. Here are
* The company compares its own product with a treatment which is
known to be inferior. One of the oldest tricks in the book is to compare a new
painkiller or arthritis treatment with ordinary non-soluble aspirin. Since
non-soluble aspirin is known to cause gastrointestinal problems it isn't easy to
show that the new product is `best'.
* The company ensures that its new
wonder drug is compared either with a very low dose of the competing drug (in
which case the competing drug probably doesn't work) or with a very high dose of
the competing drug (in which case the competing drug probably produces very
unpleasant side effects).
* One of the favourite tricks is to perform
experiments on animals. These are a guaranteed success. If animals do not die or
fall ill when given a drug then the company making it will announce that the
drug has been proved to be safe. On the other hand, if animals do die or fall
ill, the company making the drug will announce that it is ignoring the results
because animals are different to people. You will doubtless suspect that I am
making this up. I am not. Doctors, politicians and official custodians of
patient safety all accept this nonsense. (There is evidence proving this point
in my book Animal Experiments: Simple Truths and on this website. For
example, Animal Experiments: Simple Truths contains a list of 46 drugs
which may cause tumours or cancer when given to animals but which are marketed
and passed as safe for humans.)
* The company takes a lot of
measurements, ignores the ones which are inconvenient and publishes the ones
which make their product look good. (So, for example, they may give their
product to patients for a month. At the end of the month all the patients may be
dead. They will ignore that inconvenient result. But they will publish the
results which show that patients had fewer symptoms after five days.)
The company will pay numerous sets of researchers to conduct the same research.
They will then ignore the results which are inconvenient and publish the one
which makes their product look good.
* Drug companies will pay
researchers not to publish unfavourable research results.
* At least half
of the articles on drug efficacy which appear in medical journals are
ghost-written by people working for drug companies. Allegedly distinguished
doctors from allegedly prestigious universities then allow their names to be put
on the papers - often without ever looking at the original data. The doctors do
this because an academic's status depends very much on the number of scientific
papers he publishes.
Taken from Coleman's Laws by Vernon
Coleman, published by EMJ Books. Coleman's Laws is available from the
shop on this website and from all good bookshops everywhere - on and off line.
Copyright Vernon Coleman 2007