Feb 18 2013

In my opioion a report From Dr. Mercola: Publication Bias—the Hidden Systematic Flaw in Medicine that Can Threaten Your Life

Source: Dr. Mercola

Publication Bias—the Hidden Systematic Flaw in Medicine that Can Threaten Your Life

 

By Dr. Mercola

Exposure and concerns over medical research fraud is on the rise, and for good reason. Publication bias — the practice of selectively publishing trial results that serve an agenda — represents a “systematic flaw of the scientific basis of medicine,” Ben Goldacre says in his TED Talk above.

Indeed this issue is a very serious one, and I agree with Goldacre’s assertion that it is “a cancer at the core of evidence-based medicine.” It undermines and negates everything modern medicine prides itself in.

In recent years, we’ve discovered that fraud can occur anywhere. Even at the best institutions.

Even if a drug or treatment is “scientifically proven,” the examples highlighted by Goldacre make it crystal clear that this simply is not a guarantee of safety or effectiveness.

Likewise, if an alternative treatment has not been published in a medical journal, it similarly does not mean it is unsafe or ineffective. There’s much to be said for the ancient tried-and-true remedies, even if they’ve not been rigorously studied by a modern researcher.

What Gets Published, and What Doesn’t?

I am a firm believer in the scientific method, provided it’s applied appropriately. And that’s the key issue here. In order to qualify in the first place, the research must be unbiased, unprejudiced and free from any significant conflicts of interest. Sadly, this is simply not the case with most of modern medicine — especially not when it comes to drug research. It is clearly the exception and not the rule.

In the talk above, and in two recent articles published in Salon1 and The New York Times,2 Goldacre offers a number of examples of publication bias, which is pervasive across all fields of medicine. Both articles are excellent, and I recommend reading both of them if you have the time, along with his 13-minute long talk above. Bias can take a few different forms, such as:

  • Positive results are published while negative ones are not
  • Retractions are frequently not published, which would alert prescribers, researchers and academia that a study has been retracted due to fraud or other wrongdoing and cannot be relied upon
  • The source of funding predictably affects the outcome of the trial

For example:

  • Astonishingly, half of all clinical trials ever completed on the medical treatments currently in use have never been published in the medical literature. Trials with positive results for the test treatment are about twice as likely to be published, and this applies to both academic research and industry studies
  • Former drug company researcher Glenn Begley looked at 53 papers in the world’s top journals, and found that he and a team of scientists could NOT replicate 47 of the 53 published studies — all of which were considered important and valuable for the future of cancer treatments3
  • In 2010, three researchers from Harvard and Toronto identified all the published trials for five major classes of drugs, and then measured two key features: Were they positive, and were they funded by industry? Out of a total of 500 trials, 85 percent of the industry-funded studies were positive, compared to 50 percent of the government-funded trials
  • In 2007, researchers identified all published trials of cholesterol-lowering drugs known as statins. A total of 192 trials were found in which either two statins were compared to each other, or a statin was compared against a different kind of treatment. Industry-funded studies were 20 times more likely to favor the test drug, compared to those with independent funding
  • According to a 2011 study in the Journal of Medical Ethics,4 nearly 32 percent of retracted papers were not noted as having been retracted by the journal in question, leaving the readers completely in the dark about the inaccuracies in those studies

The Industry Doesn’t Pay for Negative Results

Scientific fraud and/or the misuse of science to further a preconceived commercial agenda is so rampant today that it can be quite tricky to determine what’s what. One key factor you’d be wise to consider is who paid for the study?

It’s well-established that the source of funding can significantly skew research results, as those who pay generally want the research to be of benefit to them, one way or another. Truly independent research that is not funded or executed by any person or group with a financial stake or interest in the results is, generally speaking, the most trustworthy. Although sometimes you may have to do some sleuthing to determine whether the research might have hidden ties or agendas.

In the New York Times, Goldacre writes:

“There is one last study I’d like to tell you about. It turns out that this pattern of industry-funded trials being vastly more likely to give positive results persists even when you move away from published academic papers and look instead at trial reports from academic conferences, where data often appears for the first time…

Fries and Krishnan studied all the research abstracts presented at the 2001 American College of Rheumatology meetings that reported any kind of trial and acknowledged industry sponsorship in order to find out what proportion had results that favored the sponsor’s drug. There is a small punchline coming, and to understand it we need to talk a little about what an academic paper looks like. In general, the results section is extensive: The raw numbers are given for each outcome and for each possible causal factor, but not just as raw figures… each detail of the result is described in table form and in shorter narrative form in the text, explaining the most important results. This lengthy process is usually spread over several pages.

In Fries and Krishnan [2004], this level of detail was unnecessary. The results section is a single, simple and — I like to imagine — fairly passive-aggressive sentence:

‘The results from every RCT (45 out of 45) favored the drug of the sponsor.’

This extreme finding has a very interesting side effect for those interested in time-saving shortcuts. Since every industry-sponsored trial had a positive result, that’s all you’d need to know about a piece of work to predict its outcome: If it was funded by industry, you could know with absolute certainty that the trial found the drug was great.”

When Negative Results Go ‘Missing in Action’

Publication bias is profoundly serious, because the end result is that people frequently will die if they are making choices on inaccurate information and recommendations. Research does not exist in a vacuum. Published studies are used by doctors and health agencies as the basis for making recommendations and writing prescriptions. When they’re given a radically skewed picture of the facts, how can they make sound recommendations?

According to Goldacre, negative results missing in action cuts to the core of publication bias. When negative results are suppressed, people die. Sometimes in very large numbers.

In 1980, a study was done on a heart arrhythmia drug called lorcainaide. It included 100 people. Half of them received the drug; the other a placebo. Among those who received the drug, 10 died, compared to just one death in the placebo group. The trial was stopped and the drug was abandoned. The results of the study were never published. Over the next decade, other pharmaceutical companies created and marketed similar drugs to treat arrhythmia in heart attack patients. An estimated 100,000 people died before the deaths were finally traced back to the drugs. This case is now used as a perfect example of the price of publication bias, as the publication of those negative results could have provided an early warning.

Currently, the science behind the flu drug Tamiflu is also M.I.A., which should concern every citizen in every country that recommends it and stockpiles it in anticipation of a flu pandemic. Remarkably, eight of the 10 studies on Tamiflu have never been released for review, despite years of effort.

The Cochrane Collaboration conducts and publishes analyses of the scientific evidence supporting the use of various drugs and vaccines. They are considered the “gold standard” of independent scientific reviews, so when they issue a report, you’re well advised to pay heed because it’s free of conflict of interests and therefore very objective. I’ve previously discussed a number of their reviews on flu vaccines that have shed light on the sheer lack of scientific data supporting the claim that flu vaccines are a safe and effective means of preventing seasonal influenza.

Last year, Cochrane decided to update previous reviews that might have a bearing on influenza management, which includes Tamiflu. The previous assessment of Tamiflu was done in 2009. At the time, the group was unable to get Roche, the manufacturer of Tamiflu, to release eight of the 10 clinical trials involving the drug. The review therefore concluded that:

“Paucity of good data has undermined previous findings for oseltamivir’s prevention of complications from influenza. Independent randomized trials to resolve these uncertainties are needed.”

Years later and faced with continued stonewalling, Cochrane in collaboration with the British Medical Journal decided to take the issue to the public. The BMJ Open Data Campaign5 was recently created in an effort to force transparency as Roche continues to refuse to release the data from eight out of 10 clinical trials on Tamiflu. The campaign site contains links to Cochrane’s correspondence with not just Roche, but also with the CDC and WHO — all of whom appear to be complicit in this scheme to massively promote a drug without scientific support for doing so.

The Depressing Research on Antidepressants

The antidepressant Reboxetine is another example of how negative results jeopardize the health of patients. Goldacre had a patient who found no relief from other antidepressants, so after doing his research, he put the patient on Reboxetine. However, they’d both been sorely misled.

As it turns out, while seven studies had been completed on the drug, only ONE was published — the one showing a favorable result. Six studies showing negative results were never published, and were therefore not taken into consideration when Goldacre suggested the drug to his patient. Three trials comparing Reboxetine against other antidepressants had also been published, in which the drug was found to be as just as good as the others. However, three times as many patients’-worth of data was collected, but never published, showing that Reboxetine was worse than other antidepressants, and that patients suffered more debilitating side effects on it.

Goldacre writes:6

“I did everything a doctor is supposed to do. I read all the papers, I critically appraised them, I understood them and I discussed them with the patient. We made a decision together, based on the evidence. In the published data, reboxetine was a safe and effective drug. In reality, it was no better than a sugar pill, and worse, it does more harm than good. As a doctor, I did something which, on the balance of all the evidence, harmed my patient, simply because unflattering data was left unpublished…

The repercussions of this go way beyond simply misleading doctors about the benefits and harms of interventions for patients, and way beyond trials. Medical research isn’t an abstract academic pursuit: It’s about people, so every time we fail to publish a piece of research we expose real, living people to unnecessary, avoidable suffering.”

Publication bias has been well studied — over 100 of them have been done. And they all testify to the fact that publication bias is very real, and very serious. For example, researchers looked at all trials submitted to the FDA during the approval process of 12 different antidepressants. They found 38 positive results, and 36 negative ones. That’s just about 50/50 going either way. But guess how many of these studies could be found in the published medical literature after the drugs were approved? Thirty-seven of the positive studies were published, and only THREE of those with negative findings. This is a staggering difference, and this publication bias is no doubt having a profoundly negative impact on patients.

Fake Fixes Frequently Fatal

So, is anything being done to remedy this pervasive, ongoing problem? In the New York Times, Goldacre writes:

“The Food and Drug Administration Amendments Act of 2007 is the most widely cited fix. It required that new clinical trials conducted in the United States post summaries of their results at clinicaltrials.gov within a year of completion, or face a fine of $10,000 a day. But in 2012, the British Medical Journal published the first open audit of the process, which found that four out of five trials covered by the legislation had ignored the reporting requirements. Amazingly, no fine has yet been levied.

An earlier fake fix dates from 2005, when the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors made an announcement: their members would never again publish any clinical trial unless its existence had been declared on a publicly accessible registry before the trial began. The reasoning was simple: if everyone registered their trials at the beginning, we could easily spot which results were withheld; and since everyone wants to publish in prominent academic journals, these editors had the perfect carrot. Once again, everyone assumed the problem had been fixed.

But four years later we discovered, in a paper from The Journal of the American Medical Association, that the editors had broken their promise: more than half of all trials published in leading journals still weren’t properly registered, and a quarter weren’t registered at all.

Even if these fixes had been successful, we would still be decades away from knowing the full truth about our medical treatments, because today’s decisions are informed by the trials of the past, on drugs that were first researched and approved in 2007, 2002, 1998 and earlier. None of the reforms has even tried to ensure public access for these results, and so they remain buried in dry storage archives, deep underground.”

Real Fixes are What is Needed

The last point is an important one. In order for modern medicine to be “science-based” we have to go far enough back to include ALL the research for ALL the treatments that are currently IN USE. Otherwise, we’re operating on quicksand. As Goldacre states in his TED talk:

“I don’t know what world it is in which we’re only practicing medicine based on trials completed in the past two years.”

Fixing the problem and returning science-based medicine is easy though. According to Goldacre, we must:

  1. Publish all human trials, including older trials, for all drugs in current use
  2. Tell everyone you know about this problem. For more information, contact info@alltrials.org

Take Control of Your Health

It’s important to understand that our current medical system has been masterfully orchestrated by the drug companies to create a system that gives the perception of science when really it is a heavily manipulated process designed to convince and deceive you to use expensive and potentially toxic drugs that benefit the drug companies more than they benefit your health. Across the board, drugmakers do an excellent job of publicizing the findings they want you to know, while keeping studies that don’t support their product hidden from you and the medical community.

It’s important to realize that all research is NOT published. And it should come as no surprise that drug studies funded by a pharmaceutical company that reaches a negative conclusion will rarely ever see the light of day…

What this means is that even if you scour the medical literature to determine what the consensus is on any given medical topic, what you’ll find is an overwhelming preponderance of data in favor of the drug approach that in no way, shape or form reflects the reality of the scientific investigation that went into that specific drug. With so much data missing in action, what does the claim “scientifically proven” really amount to? It certainly cannot be construed as a guarantee of safety or effectiveness…

I recommend using all the resources available to you, including your own common sense and reason, true experts’ advice and experiences of others, to determine what medical treatment or advice will be best for you in any given situation. 

Sources and References

 

Source: CCHR

IMPORTANT FACTS

1. Studies in numerous countries reveal that between 10% and 25% of psychiatrists and psychologists admit to sexually abusing their patients.

2. Germany reported that 50% of registered psychologists and psychotherapists are unacceptable as practitioners because they have more problems than their patients.

3. The so-called ethics system used by psychiatrists has been universally attacked as soft and inadequate.

4. A 1997 Canadian study of psychiatrists revealed that 10% admitted to sexually abusing theirs patients; 80% of those are repeat offenders.

IMPORTANT FACTS

1. Studies in numerous countries reveal that between 10% and 25% of psychiatrists and psychologists admit to sexually abusing their patients.

2. Germany reported that 50% of registered psychologists and psychotherapists are unacceptable as practitioners because they have more problems than their patients.

3. The so-called ethics system used by psychiatrists has been universally attacked as soft and inadequate.

4. A 1997 Canadian study of psychiatrists revealed that 10% admitted to sexually abusing theirs patients; 80% of those are repeat offenders.

The real truth about the money paid to Cathal Grant by the drug Companies

 

 

Notice Dr. Cathal P Grant MD, Bedford, Texas is paid by Eli Lilly, Johnson & Johnson, AstraZeneca, Cephalon, GlaxoSmithKline, and Pfizer to push their drug in our opinion it is clear what Dr. Cathal P Grant MD, Bedford, Texas is doing, prescribing drug if you need them or not.

 

Doctors Paid Big By Drug Companies?

One patient statement about Dr. Cathal P Grant MD, Bedford, Texas:

“We found out that he gets paid to speak for almost every drug company out there, even if the drugs are competitors. He is out to make the money and it is apparent the way patients are herded through the practice with no regard for the patient’s needs. Beware if he tries to prescribe you a “new” drug on the market, it probably means they are paying him now. “

 

In our experience Dr. Cathal P Grant MD, Bedford, Texas, does not tell you one big fact that you the patient has and that is Informed Consent, Dr. Cathal P Grant MD, Bedford, Texas, does not discuss this or wants you to know about this, in our experience so he can get you hooked on psychotropic medications so you can do nothing but feed you greed for money, and you do not care at all what you do to the patient’s life.

This video proves what we are saying in our opinion about Cathal Grant’s medical practice, it also shows how Cathal Grant does not want you to have informed consent in your visit with him, and he does not tell you the truth, as the video below shows:

 

 

 

 

 

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    • In My Opinion Free Speech site was attacked I guess they do not like the truth to be told
      It seems like that when you supply the truth as  In my opinion free speech does, and you start exposing the drugs, drug companies, and the people responsible for hurting so many innocent people who among many actions, break up marriages and basically ruinin people’s lives and careers by their actions and drugs they use wrongly, and abusively, that when Related posts: In my opinion the drug Cathal Grant is paid by Eli Lilly to push on you if you need it or not, has major issues as told in the article “Suicide and Cymbalta” In my opinion: What’s really behind the school shootings. In tha case of Cathal Grant his patient have attacked members of thier won family, even though the famly members warned his what what going on, all Cathal Grant wants to do is keep people hooked on the drug hie is supplying if they need the drigs or not. In my opinion the truth about the drugs Cathal Grant Prescribes and the facts he does not want you to know: Mental Health Watchdog Launches Psychiatric Drug Side Effects Database—Search All Drug Regulatory Agency Warnings, Studies & Adverse Reactions Reports
    • In my Opinion the payment still being made to Cathal Grant to give you medication you may not need
      Dr. Cathal P Grant MD, Bedford, Texas, is still accepting money from the drug companies , our experience to push the drugs if you need them or not. Payments: At a Glance 566 payments $210,057 payment total Rank: 8 out of 1,268 doctors in this specialty and state Drugs & Devices Totals listed below account Related posts: In my opinion a release Eli Lilly: Lying is the Best Defense The drug company who pays Cathal Grant (Cathal Grant’s total payment $151,474.00 since 2010 by all drug companies) to give you medication you may not need In my opinion a report: Psychology Professor: Grief and anxiety are not mental illnesses; People need help & understanding not labels & medication, but Cathal Grant will label you and give you drugs if you need them or not, all he wants is the money for office visits, and credit with the drug companies for the drug he has perscribed and hooked you on they have paid him $151,474.00 since 2010. In my opinion asks the question: Why Must Everything Be a Medical Condition? ADHD prescriptions soar 50% in six years, In Cathal Grant’s case he getd patients hooked on these drugs for nothing more than he own personal gains and his payment by the drug companies to increse thier profits by prescribing these drug if you need them or not.
    • In my opinion Cathal Grant the doctor and drugs in Medicare Part D a real tale of over prescribing for money
      Dr. Cathal P Grant MD, Bedford, Texas, is still accepting money from the drug companies which brings his total to $151,474.00 since 2010, our experience to push the drugs if you need them or not.   Source: Pro Publica   Cathal Grant keeps in our opinion  increasing his wrongful prescribing of drug these patients do Related posts: In My Opinion SSRI Tragedy a Real Risk, and Cathal Grant does not care what the drugs he prescribes to you does, all he is interested in is the money he collects for the 2 to 5 minute office visits and what the drug companies pay him to push their drugs In my opinion News: Media Ignores Real Story in Conn School Shooting, and Cathal Grant keeps prescribing the same class of drug that has caused these incidents, caring for nothing but his office visit fees In my Opoinon Report on Cathal Grant Prescriber Checkup The Doctors and Drugs in Medicare Part D, the time Cathal Grant spends with his patient 2 to 5 minutes is not enough time to do a proper diganosis, just to push drugs on unsupecting Medicare and other patients, like the drug companies pay him to do if they need the drug or not in our experience Cathal Grant a true legal drug pusher
    • In my opinion: A Psychiatrist’s Perspective on Using Drugs . Cathal Grant does not practice like this he gets you hooked on these drug for his own profit and the proffit of the drug companies who pay him to hook you on their drugs
      Dr. Cathal P Grant MD, Bedford, Texas, is still accepting money from the drug companies which brings his total to $151,474.00 since 2010, our experience to push the drugs if you need them or not.   In our experience the facts below prove Dr. Cathal P Grant MD, Bedford, Texas, is doing what he paid Related posts: In my opinion: When it comes to Anti-depressants, it appears profit, not benefits, outweigh the risks and Dr. Cathal P Grant MD, Bedford, Texas practice is for nothing but profit his profit , he spends only 2 to 5 minutes with each patient so he can make the most profit by seeing the maxium number of patients each day and it is the patients who gets hooked on these drug in his practice when they do not need these drug at all. In my opinion a Documentary: The Drugging of Our Children, and Cathal Grant will drug you children, not because they need it only so he can get them hook on the drugs for more profit for him and the drug companies who pay him to push their drugs In my Opinion: Top psychiatrist: ‘We are turning childhood into a disease’ all for the prifit of Cathal Grand and the drug companies who pay him to get prople hooked on these drugs
    • In my Opinon: Danish Doctor Offers Ten Myths About Psychotropic Drugs, these are facts that Cathal Grant does not want you to read, he wants you not to know these facts so he can push drugs on you and get you hooked on them.
      Danish Doctor Offers Ten Myths About Psychotropic Drugs Design & Trend – January 23, 2014 By Pete Calautti Source: Design & Trend & CCHR Dr. Peter Gotzsche has created a controversy and sparked criticism over what he sees as a damaging over-prescription of drugs by psychiatrists. Gotzsche recently compiled a list of ten common myths held Related posts: In my Opinon Dr. Mercola Explains that Psychotropic Drug Use Associated with Increased Risk for Car Crashes, But Cathal Grant is a pro profit not for patient doctor who wants to get you hooked on these drugs reguardless of how you life is affected by these drugs In my opinion a Report: Mental Disorders: The Facts Behind the Marketing Campaign and Cathal Grant knows if you read this information you will come to the conclusion he is only in the business of pushing drugs you do not need using false diganostic methods and theories no longer accepted by the medical community. In my opinon the facts exposed: Psycho-Pharma Front Groups The Campaign to “Stop the Stigma” of “Mental Illness” was launched by…. the Pharmaceutical Industry, the same drug companies who pay Cathal Grant to get you hooked on their drugs of you need them or not.
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