Home   Contact   LinksBookmark this site   
 
 

   Plasma

   The Electric Universe

   Science and Philosophy

   Ancient Testimony

   Cutting Edge
        Cutting Edge
        Nikola Tesla
        The Mind
        Medicine

   The Way Forward

   Latest News

   Video

 

 

 

 


 
Medicine and mendacity  
   
Follow the Science (?)  
   

Follow the Science is a term we often heard trotted out by the mainstream media during the pandemic. Ironically, this only served to highlight numerous questions about scientific integrity in general, and medicine and the pharmaceutical industry in particular.

Those familiar with the content of this web site will no doubt be aware of some of the controversies surrounding cosmology, and the varying reasons they have come about. While these may seem a little intangible to many, however, concerns relating to medicine bite much closer to home.

A recent piece in the highly respected British Medical Journal, The BMJ, is entitled The illusion of Evidence Based Medicine. The authors argue that evidence based medicine has been corrupted by corporate interests, failed regulation, and the commercialisation of academia!

From the article (my bold):
https://www.bmj.com/content/376/bmj.o702

The advent of evidence based medicine was a paradigm shift intended to provide a solid scientific foundation for medicine. The validity of this new paradigm, however, depends on reliable data from clinical trials, most of which are conducted by the pharmaceutical industry and reported in the names of senior academics. The release into the public domain of previously confidential pharmaceutical industry documents has given the medical community valuable insight into the degree to which industry sponsored clinical trials are misrepresented. Until this problem is corrected, evidence based medicine will remain an illusion.

The philosophy of critical rationalism, advanced by the philosopher Karl Popper, famously advocated for the integrity of science and its role in an open, democratic society. A science of real integrity would be one in which practitioners are careful not to cling to cherished hypotheses and take seriously the outcome of the most stringent experiments. This ideal is, however, threatened by corporations, in which financial interests trump the common good. Medicine is largely dominated by a small number of very large pharmaceutical companies that compete for market share, but are effectively united in their efforts to expanding that market. The short term stimulus to biomedical research because of privatisation has been celebrated by free market champions, but the unintended, long term consequences for medicine have been severe. Scientific progress is thwarted by the ownership of data and knowledge because industry suppresses negative trial results, fails to report adverse events, and does not share raw data with the academic research community. Patients die because of the adverse impact of commercial interests on the research agenda, universities, and regulators.

The pharmaceutical industry’s responsibility to its shareholders means that priority must be given to their hierarchical power structures, product loyalty, and public relations propaganda over scientific integrity. Although universities have always been elite institutions prone to influence through endowments, they have long laid claim to being guardians of truth and the moral conscience of society. But in the face of inadequate government funding, they have adopted a neo-liberal market approach, actively seeking pharmaceutical funding on commercial terms. As a result, university departments become instruments of industry: through company control of the research agenda and ghostwriting of medical journal articles and continuing medical education, academics become agents for the promotion of commercial products. When scandals involving industry-academe partnership are exposed in the mainstream media, trust in academic institutions is weakened and the vision of an open society is betrayed...

Another editorial in the BMJ has this to say:
https://www.bmj.com/content/371/bmj.m4425

When good science is suppressed by the medical-political complex, people die!
Covid-19: politicisation, 'corruption,' and suppression of science

Politicians and governments are suppressing science. They do so in the public interest, they say, to accelerate availability of diagnostics and treatments. They do so to support innovation, to bring products to market at unprecedented speed. Both of these reasons are partly plausible; the greatest deceptions are founded in a grain of truth. But the underlying behaviour is troubling.

Science is being suppressed for political and financial gain. Covid-19 has unleashed state corruption on a grand scale, and it is harmful to public health...

 

"When scandals involving industry-academe partnership are exposed in the mainstream media, trust in academic institutions is weakened and the vision of an open society is betrayed."
The BMJ 16/03/22

 

 

drug_addled_braın

 

 

“Scientists tend to resist interdisciplinary inquiries into their own territory. In many instances, such parochialism is founded on the fear that intrusion from other disciplines would compete unfairly for limited financial resources and thus diminish their own opportunity for research.”
Hannes Alfvén

 

 

Bad Pharma

     
The Emperor's New Drugs    
     

In his 2009 book The Emperor's New Drugs – Exploding the Antidepressant Myth Irving Kirsch posits that the chemical imbalance theory of depression is wrong, and that most antidepressants have little or no direct effect on depression. Furthermore, he argues they are powerful active placebos with common and often serious side-effects.

Kirsch is Associate Director of the Program in Placebo Studies and a lecturer in medicine at the Harvard Medical School, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, and a professor emeritus of psychology at the Universities of Hull and Plymouth in the UK, and the University of Connecticut in the United States. His research interests include placebo effects, antidepressants, expectancy, and hypnosis. He is the originator of Response Expectancy Theory.

While analyzing antidepressant trials as part of his research into the placebo effect, Kirsch discovered that drug companies do not publish all of their unfavourable clinical trial data, and that most decisions about the efficacy of an antidepressant are based solely on published results. Using the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), he and his colleagues acquired unpublished trial results from the US Food and Drug Administration for six antidepressants. When the results from both published and unpublished studies were compared and averaged, the researchers concluded that the drugs produced a small but clinically meaningless improvement in mood compared with that of an inert placebo (sugar pill)!

Book link: https://www.amazon.com/Emperors-New-Drugs-Exploding-Antidepressant/dp/0465022006

  "The one thing we do know is that the chemical imbalance theory — the theory that people get depressed when they don't have enough serotonin in their brain — we know that that's wrong."
Irving Kirsch
     
The suppression of clinical trial data    
     

Ben Goldacre wrote Bad Pharma and had this to say about SSRI antidepressants in a Guardian article (https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2008/jan/26/badscience):

Meanwhile, in popular culture the depression/serotonin theory is proven and absolute, because it was never about research, or theory, it was about marketing, and journalists who pride themselves on never pushing pills or the hegemony will still blindly push the model until the cows come home...

He says this about the suppression of clinical trial data in the same piece:

If there's one thing I love, it's academics who take on the work of investigative journalism, because they are dogged. This has been a bad week for the SSRI antidepressants. First there's the stuff you already know: bad data got buried. In a cracking new analysis of the "publication bias" in the literature, a group of academics this week published a paper in the New England Journal of Medicine which listed all the trials on SSRIs that had ever been formally registered with the Food and Drug Administration, and then went to look for the same trials in the academic literature.

Thirty-seven studies were assessed by the FDA as positive and, with one exception, every single one of those positive trials got properly written up and published. Meanwhile, 22 studies that had negative or iffy results were simply not published at all, and 11 were written up and published in a way that described them as having a positive outcome...

  “It is clear from the evidence presented in this book that the pharmaceutical industry does a biased job of disseminating evidence - to be surprised by this would be absurd - whether it is through advertising, drug reps, ghostwriting, hiding data, bribing people, or running educational programmes for doctors.”
Ben Goldacre Bad Pharma: How Drug Companies Mislead Doctors and Harm Patients
     
Pharmageddon    
     

Another prominent pharmacologist, David Healy, has stated that SSRIs represent the triumph of marketing over science. He also argues that treatment induced problems need to be more widely recognised. He wrote the 2012 book Pharmageddon.

From his web site https://davidhealy.org/

About Data Based Medicine | Dr. David Healy

Adverse drug events are now the fourth leading cause of death in hospitals

It’s a reasonable bet they are an even greater cause of death in non-hospital settings where there is no one to monitor things going wrong and no one to intervene to save a life. In mental health for instance drug-induced problems are the leading cause of death — and these deaths happen in community rather than hospital settings...

 

Pharmageddon

     
Lobbying and regulation    
     

The many critics of the pharmaceutical industry are quick to point out that most Big Pharma spend more on lobbying and marketing than they do on research. This appears to be the central plank of their business model.

The below is quoted from from CorporateEurope.org

Policy Prescriptions: the firepower of the EU pharmaceutical lobby and implications for public health

The pharmaceutical industry – including companies, associations and the top ten lobby firms they employ – have a declared lobby spend of nearly €40 million. That is around 15 times more than the lobby expenditure of civil society and consumer groups which work on public health or access to medicines. Although many pharma industry actors declare more realistic expenditure in the lobby register than three years ago, the real spending may be much more.

   
     
In summary    
     

To reiterate. In case anyone is wondering about the relevance of medicine to cosmology, the point is simple enough. Given it appears that profit can take precedence over public health, is it really any surprise that ideology can dominate in other fields of science? After all, it is difficult to take the people out of science and the sad reality is that egotism and greed can play their part.

The highly qualified indviduals mentioned above all believe drugs have their place, but they've nonetheless voiced their concerns about the many compromises being made for the benefit of big business.

  "Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth." Albert Einstein
     
The Light of Life    
     

Life emits light. By way of contrast to the darkness above, Michael Clarage, PhD, Astrophysicist and Lead Scientist of SAFIRE, explains how we could not have organic life without cells, chemicals, light, electricity, or the ecosystems of the Earth and Sun — all levels of the hierarchy communicate and exchange energy.

There is even proof our eyes emit light. To a physicist this is possible since all receivers are also transmitters — a radio antenna can send or receive the same signal. The rhodopsin molecules in the retinal cells absorb and emit the same visible light.

 “Depression is a serious problem, but drugs are not the answer. In the long run, psychotherapy is both cheaper and more effective, even for very serious levels of depression. Physical exercise and self-help books can also be useful, either alone or in combination with therapy. Reducing social and economic inequality would also reduce the incidence of depression.”
Irving Kirsch
I do