A secretly recorded meeting between the editors-in-chief of The Lancet and the New England Journal of Medicine reveal both men bemoaning the “criminal” influence big pharma has on scientific research.
According to Philippe Douste-Blazy, France’s former Health Minister and 2017 candidate for WHO Director, the leaked 2020 Chattam House closed-door discussion between the EIC’s – whose publications both retracted papers favorable to big pharma over fraudulent data.
“Now we are not going to be able to, basically, if this continues, publish any more clinical research data because the pharmaceutical companies are so financially powerful today, and are able to use such methodologies, as to have us accept papers which are apparently methodologically perfect, but which, in reality, manage to conclude what they want them to conclude,” said Lancet EIC Richard Horton.
According to Douste-Blazy, the the EICs said the influence wielded by big Pharma to influence publications is “criminal.”
Intellectual dishonesty using purposeful manipulation of scientific data to produce results profitable to big pharma while patients suffer. We physicians have been warning of this potential malfeasance with “meaningful use” EHR and data harvesting. Like required with MIPS/MACRA.
— Kris Held,MD (@kksheld) June 9, 2020
“It is simply no longer possible to believe much of the clinical research that is published, or to rely on the judgment 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 of The New England Journal of Medicine.”
— Dr. Marcia Angell, 2009 http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2009/jan/15/drug-companies-doctorsa-story-of-corruption/
“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. As one participant put it, “poor methods get results”. The Academy of Medical Sciences, Medical Research Council, and Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council have now put their reputational weight behind an investigation into these questionable research practices. The apparent endemicity [i.e. pervasiveness within the scientific culture] of bad research behaviour is alarming. In their quest for telling a compelling story, scientists too often sculpt data to fit their preferred theory of the world. Or they retrofit hypotheses to fit their data. Journal editors deserve their fair share of criticism too. We aid and abet the worst behaviours. Our acquiescence to the impact factor fuels an unhealthy competition to win a place in a select few journals. Our love of “significance” pollutes the literature with many a statistical fairy-tale. We reject important confirmations. Journals are not the only miscreants. Universities are in a perpetual struggle for money and talent, endpoints that foster reductive metrics, such as high-impact publication. National assessment procedures, such as the Research Excellence Framework, incentivise bad practices. And individual scientists, including their most senior leaders, do little to alter a research culture that occasionally veers close to misconduct.”
— Richard Horton, editor in chief of Lancet http://www.thelancet.com/pdfs/journals/lancet/PIIS0140-6736%2815%2960696-1.pdf