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Transparency and Financial Conflicts of Interest in Science and Medicine

re: ethics in medicine
re: The DisInformation Chronicle

Are you starting to see how the gears of the machine work?

Science and medicine have dug huge open pit mines for themselves, at the bottom of which collects all of the intellectual sewage of modern society.

Transparency and Financial Conflicts of Interest in Science and Medicine


A history of influence, scandal, and denial.

In December 1953, the CEOs of America’s leading tobacco companies cast aside competitive rancor and gathered at New York City’s Plaza Hotel to confront a menace to their incredibly profitable industry. An emergent body of science published in elite medical journals cast doubt on the safety of cigarettes and threatened to destroy a half-century of corporate success. Joining them at the Plaza was John W. Hill, the president of America’s top public relations firm, Hill & Knowlton. Hill would later prove a decisive savior.

...Instead of ignoring or denigrating new data that found tobacco dangerous, Hill proposed the opposite: embrace science, trumpet new data, and demand more, not less research... Hill & Knowlton’s campaign for the five largest U.S. tobacco companies corrupted science and medicine for decades to followlaying the foundation for financial conflicts of interest in science, as other industries mimicked tobacco’s techniques to protect their own products from government bans and regulations—later, from consumer lawsuits. While tactics have varied over time, the core strategy has changed little since tobacco wrote the playbook, providing a menu of techniques now employed across industries.

To position themselves as more science than the science itself, corporations hire academics as advisors or speakers, appoint them to boards, fund university research, support vanity journals, and provide academic scholars with ghostwritten manuscripts to which they can add their names and publish in peer-reviewed journals with sometimes little or no effort. These tactics create an alternative scientific realm that drowns out the voices of independent researchers and calls into question the soundness of impartial data.

To further undermine impartial scientists, industries secretly support think tanks and corporate front groups. These organizations echo and amplify company studies and experts, counter articles in the media, and launch campaigns against independent academics, often trying to get their research retracted or perceived as second-rate and untrustworthy to the public and media.

...Investigative reporters found that nearly half the members of a 2011 Academies report on pain management had ties to companies that manufacture narcotics, including opioids. A separate...

...Describing this period, sociologist Sheila Jasanoff remarked that science advisors had become a “fifth branch” of the government...

...Current Evidence and Primacy of Pharmaceutical Companies

In effect, the pharmaceutical industry has repurposed tobacco’s campaign by co-opting academics to sell drugs...

Perpetual Denial Machine

...Every attempt to control financial conflicts of interest and push for great transparency in science has been criticized by the scientific community, which seems perpetually satisfied with whatever ethics happen to be in place....

...At the heart of the matter lies money. As far back as 2000, experts questioned the ability of academic institutions to regulate financial conflicts of interests when they were so reliant on billions of dollars annually from the industry. In a 2012 symposium on conflicts of interest held at Harvard Law School, academic leaders noted that the problem has only grown more and more complex over time. University leaders avoid even discussing the imperative to regulate financial conflicts because they fear losing revenue.


WIND: and so on. They’re all human: follow the money.

Trust no experts, trust no doctor, trust but verify... that is if you somehow find objective information (how would you know?).

Many scientists are incapable of understanding and accepting that financial conflicts of interest corrupt science because they believe that scientists are objective and too well trained to be influenced by financial rewards, like all other human beings. In one example, researchers surveyed medical residents and found that sixty-one percent reported that they would not be influenced by gifts from pharmaceutical companies, while arguing that eighty-four percent of their colleagues would be influenced. One academic who researches conflicts of interest grew so irritated with scientists denying the science of financial influence that he wrote a parody for The BMJ that listed many of their most common denials.

Indeed, scientists are among the most gullible people out there—those skilled in psychology (eg hypnotists and similar) know this.

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