Corruption of medical research in the words of the world’s top journal editors

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The shocking state of corruption, bias and pharmaceutical influence at the highest levels of medical research is laid bare in this series of quotes.
These are not the ramblings of disgruntled whistleblowers, ‘quacks’ or fringe players, but come directly from editors of some of the world’s top medical journals who have first-hand experience of what is taking place at the heart of ‘Evidence Based Medicine’.
What they have to say needs to be heard widely and loudly, so please feel free to copy any part of this post and share it around freely!


The case against science is straightforward: much of the scientific literature, perhaps half, may simply be untrue. Afflicted by studies with small sample sizes, tiny effects, invalid exploratory analyses, and flagrant conflicts of interest, together with an obsession for pursuing fashionable trends of dubious importance, science has taken a turn towards darkness.

Richard Horton, Editor in chief
The Lancet, 2015

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Evidence-based medicine is actually so corrupt as to be useless or harmful,

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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.

Marcia Angell, 2009, Former editor in chief
New England Journal of Medicine

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The medical profession is being bought by the pharmaceutical industry, not only in terms of the practise of medicine, but also in terms of teaching and research. The academic institutions of this country are allowing themselves to be paid agents of the pharmaceutical industry. I think it’s disgraceful

Dr Arnold Relman, 2002, Former editor
New England Journal of Medicine

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I think we have to call it what it is. It is a corruption of the scientific process… It’s led me and others to increasingly question the idea that the manufacturer of the drug could ever be considered the right people to evaluate its effectiveness and safety,

Fiona Godlee, 2016 Editor
BMJ

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They are committing more crimes than any other business on the planet, and the crimes are worse. They’re more serious, and they lead to a huge amount of death. Our prescription drugs are the third-leading cause of death after heart disease and cancer.

Peter Gøtzsche, 2013, Co-founder
The Cochrane Collaboration

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Our prescription drugs are the third leading cause of death after heart disease and cancer in the United States and Europe. Around half of those who die have taken their drugs correctly; the other half die because of errors, such as too high a dose or use of a drug despite contraindications.

Peter Gøtzsche, 2014, Co-founder The Cochrane Collaboration

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Major reasons for the many drug deaths are impotent drug regulation, widespread crime that includes corruption of the scientific evidence about drugs and bribery of doctors, and lies in drug marketing, which is as harmful as tobacco marketing and, therefore, should be banned.

Peter Gøtzsche, 2014, Co-founder
The Cochrane Collaboration

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We should take far fewer drugs, and patients should carefully study the package inserts of the drugs their doctors prescribe for them and independent information sources about drugs such as Cochrane reviews, which will make it easier for them to say “no thanks”.

Peter Gøtzsche, 2014, Co-founder
The Cochrane Collaboration

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"[The pharmaceuticals] are committing more crimes than any other business on the planet, and the crimes are worse.” Peter Gøtzsche, 2013, Co-founder The Cochrane Collaboration Click To Tweet "Antipsychotics are dangerous drugs that should only be used if there is a compelling reason, and preferably as short-term therapy at a low dose because the drugs produce severe and permanent brain damage." Peter Gøtzsche,… Click To Tweet

If peer review was a drug it would never get on the market because we have lots of evidence of its adverse effects and don’t have evidence of its benefit.

It’s time to slaughter the sacred cow,

Dr Richard Smith, 2015, Former Editor
BMJ

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During Dr Richard Smith’s time as Editor of the BMJ, as an experiment, a 600 word paper was sent out to 300 reviewers which contained 8 mistakes. No one found more than five. The median was 2 and 20% did not spot any mistakes.


The mistake, of course, is to have thought that peer review was any more than a crude means of discovering the acceptability — not the validity — of a new finding. Editors and scientists alike insist on the pivotal importance of peer review. We portray peer review to the public as a quasi-sacred process that helps to make science our most objective truth teller. But we know that the system of peer review is biased, unjust, unaccountable, incomplete, easily fixed, often insulting, usually ignorant, occasionally foolish, and frequently wrong.

Richard Horton, Editor in chief
The Lancet, 2015

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“The mistake, of course, is to have thought that peer review was any more than a crude means of discovering the acceptability — not the validity — of a new finding." Richard Horton, Editor in Chief, The Lancet, 2015 Click To Tweet

What, then, should we think about researchers who use the wrong techniques (either wilfully or in ignorance), use the right techniques wrongly, misinterpret their results, report their results selectively, cite the literature selectively, and draw unjustified conclusions? We should be appalled. Yet numerous studies of the medical literature, in both general and specialist journals, have shown that all of the above phenomena are common. This is surely a scandal.

Prof. Douglas Altman, 1994,
Chief Statistical Advisor, BMJ

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Huge sums of money are spent annually on research that is seriously flawed through the use of inappropriate designs, unrepresentative samples, small samples, incorrect methods of analysis, and faulty interpretation.

Prof. Douglas Altman, 1994,
Chief Statistical Advisor, BMJ

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The poor quality of much medical research is widely acknowledged, yet disturbingly the leaders of the medical profession seem only minimally concerned about the problem and make no apparent efforts to find a solution.

Prof. Douglas Altman, 1994,
Chief Statistical Advisor, BMJ

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4 thoughts on “Corruption of medical research in the words of the world’s top journal editors”

  1. Thank you for assembling these quotes Afifah. Your post may save lives.
    I’d kinda forgotten how how corrupt modern medicine is. Despite the “kind” offers of my GP I remain a medication free and healthy 68 year old youngster.
    Tip for the day. Keep away from NHS GPs if you can.

    Reply
  2. What I find more and more concerning is the amount of different drugs some of the ‘older’ more vulnerable generation are taking. They trust what they are being told and given to take. There aren’t the regular reviews of patients needs and therefore they remain on drugs, which they probably don’t need for the rest of their lives.

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  3. Thanks for that. It is very easy to forget just how corrupt the medical sciences are. Did you watch the Jason Fung video we posted recently? If not, please do. He’s a nephrologist, famous for his research on fasting, but in the video we want to spread more widely he speaks about the corruption side of things, and how it persists.
    Please share all our posts as widely as you can. It’s time for us all to wake up I reckon.

    Reply

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