Top Ten Reasons Most Drug Studies Are Fraudulent
by Heidi Stevenson
17 December 2010
The news media are full of drug study results, each one hyping a major breakthrough that seems to offer hope to millions. Virtually every day, there's a new one. They keep on coming, faster and faster, with bigger and bigger claims, each one an apparent miracle drug. The harsh truth about most of them, though, is that they are packs of lies.
In spite of all the apparent wonder drugs, very few come to market, and of those that do, most end up doing more harm than good. Ultimately, nearly all end up pulled from the market, or simply fade away in favor of the next generation of "miracle drugs" after the public has acted as unwitting guinea pigs.
Here are the top ten reasons you should not trust most drug trials:
10. Statistical Tricks
Statistical tricks are routinely used to give an impression far removed from reality. An increase from 0.5% to 1.0% in people benefitting from a drug will be reported as doubling the benefit. While technically true, an honest reflection of reality shows that only 2 people in two hundred have benefitted, as opposed to one person in two hundred.
But the headlines screaming "New Drug Doubles Number of Lives Saved" are so much more exciting—and result in people clamoring for a drug that provides little genuine benefit.
9. Gold Standard Easily Faked and Studies 'Cherry Picked,' to Boost Drug Sales
The so-called "gold standard" of drug testing, double-blind placebo-controlled trials, can be gamed in a number of ways, all of which Big Pharma uses. Even placebos are, themselves, a trick. Most studies do not state what the placebo consists of, so any effects from it can easily affect trial results. A standard practice is to give all potential trial enrollees a true placebo, and if they respond in any way, they are immediately eliminated. This trick is never documented, though it can eliminate a large percentage of people who would normally have provided a much larger number of reactions from placebo-imbibers, thus skewing trial results in favor of the drug.
8. Years Later, Honest Studies Document Lack of Efficacy
Over and over again, the fraud of pharmaceutical drug studies is borne out by honest studies that demonstrate drugs' lack of efficacy and the extent of adverse effects. Unfortunately, these studies aren't usually financed by Big Pharma, so they have difficulty getting published in the most prestigious journals, so their results may languish, relatively unnoticed.
7. Ghost writing
Drug studies are, as often as not, written by hired hacks, not by the listed authors. Their job is to spin results, not provide an honest assessment of trials.
6. Medical Journals Dependent on Big Pharma
Medical journals that publish drug studies are generally financially dependent on Big Pharma's advertising. That, of course, makes sense. Otherwise, how could they possibly publish the pseudoscience passed off as legitimate?
5. Conclusions Do Not Reflect Results
Study conclusions rarely reflect the actual results. As documented time and again by Gaia Health, the news media routinely parrots the press releases produced for drug trials. Close reading of them—especially when they claim positive results for pharmaceuticals—most often shows that the results do not support the conclusions. The corruption is so deep, it appears that results are often irrelevant. Authors simply make claims equivalent to 2 plus 2 equals 5. Media blindly report the false conclusions.
4. Testing Done in Unaccountable Locations
Most drug trials are now performed in poor nations, where it's often easy to hide data and where the populace may not be in the same health as those who will be prescribed the drugs after approval.
3. Testing Companies Paid by Big Pharma
An enormous and profitable business exists to produce drug trials. Pharmaceutical companies will, naturally, choose the companies that produce the results they want. So obviously, they're going to try to give results that Big Pharma wants to see. Otherwise, there won't be much repeat business and they'll fade away. Corporations like Quintiles Transnational and Pharmaceutical Product Development didn't get huge by producing results that prevent drugs from being approved.
2. Negative Results Hidden
Big Pharma routinely hides results that are so bad they can't find a way to spin them. There are no requirements for transparency in drug trials. Negative results are almost never reported.
1. Big Pharma Money Corrupts System
Even when Big Pharma doesn't buy the desired results directly, they've likely done so indirectly. They finance university departments, chairs, and laboratories. They pay doctors to hype their drugs. Pharmaceutical companies control the agencies that are supposed to control them, such as the CDC, NIH, and FDA. They hire—and pay big fat salaries—to the people who are charged with their regulation, both before and after they're serving in the governmental agencies. These people are generally in control of the agencies, so they have created a culture of subservience to Big Pharma.
Drug Trials Are Financed by Big Pharma
Nearly all drug trials are financed by the pharmaceutical corporations that stand to profit from them. It's a blatant and obvious conflict of interest, which results in all ten abuses listed here.
Big Pharma pays for every aspect of pseudo drug testing. They buy the results they want. They effectively bribe the people responsible for regulation. They define every aspect of testing, from the trial design to the location to who administers tests to who writes them to who publishes them to, ultimately, who approves them.
To trust trials done under such a system is foolhardy. Unfortunately, the public is cast in the role of fools as consumers of the drugs approved through this utterly corrupt system.