Private Funding, Medical Journals, and Bias

Friday, December 07, 2012


Private funding of medical studies has eclipsed public funding on the order of billions of dollars a year. Peter Whoriskey, writer for The Washington Post talks to Bob about the potential for bias and misleading information in drug studies funded by the drug companies.

B. Fleischmann - Lemmings


Peter Whoriskey

Hosted by:

Brooke Gladstone

Comments [4]


I laughed when I heard about how journals make sure to ask who was responsible for writing the manuscript, statistical analysis, etc. I've worked for a Pharma-consulting company for over 11 years, and here's the model for abstracts and manuscripts:

1) We do the work.
2) A clinician that the Pharma company found, that helped guide the work slightly gets to be the main author, and claims responsibility for all aspects of the project
3) Three other clinicians that didn't do anything, but that the Pharma client wants to connect to the project (probably to make it more publishable) become other authors
4) The people who did the work (some of them) are listed in the middle.

This is for retrospective analyses, not clinical trial analyses, but ...

Dec. 11 2012 11:31 AM
MC from Raleigh, NC

Peter's part of the discussion was fair and reported on the research he did on the Avandia story but I was appalled to hear the commentor's statement in regards to Pharma-- that he feels like he is 'staring in the face of evil'. I felt like I was listening to Fox News. It was biased and did not add to the discussion of Peter's story.
And adding my two cents on clinical research... I have worked in the Pharma indusctry for 11 + years conducting global trials. I have grown tired of the lack of coverage of the good work the Pharma industry does. Attention and air time needs to be paid to the quality research done by extremely capable and intelligent research teams -- and the valuable and life-saving drugs that we safely bring to market. This is not to say there are not problems or pitfalls but if you have actually worked in R & D you will see that 99% of the teams are focused on patient safety--the aim is always to have solid study design and to ensure the data collection and analysis is clean and accurate.

Dec. 09 2012 04:50 PM
Stacy Harris from Nashville, TN

"Potential for bias"? How about the omnipresent REALITY?

Safeguards should be in place prior to medical journals' publication of such data so that the writer (and, by extension, the writer's editor and publisher) knows how to accurately interpret the data.

Without due diligence, how are doctors and their patients to understand the benefits and risks of drugs based on the true and full results of such studies?

Stacy Harris
Publisher/Executive Editor/Media Critic
Stacy's Music Row Report

Dec. 09 2012 04:48 PM
Hugh Sansom from Brooklyn

"In Europe"

Did anybody else notice that it's in Europe that Avandia has largely been banned? Or that it's Europe thta's lead the way requirements on big pharma report the truth?

Here, as on issues like pollutants, GMO foods, tobacco, lead in paint, etc., the US attitude is let corporations do what they want. Even when the evidence is overwhelming of terrible health effects (the history of leaded paint is devastating), the US government protects business before it protects people.

Dec. 08 2012 07:31 AM

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