Saturday, April 4, 2015

Ethicists who don't have the public and patients' welfare in mind

Had we participated in a trial would any of us say the following:
When I signed up for that clinical trial, I was putting my health at risk and exposing my life to examination only for the benefit of one pharmaceutical company’s sales or one professor’s publication record. I never intended for any independent scholars to be able to double-check whether the drug actually works.

Would we ever be part of a trial that said in the fine print:
You’re signing a form that guarantees that our paid analysts and ghostwriters will write about this data only if it is in our financial interest. Thanks to your signature, we will be able to convince 'ethicists' that you didn’t want anyone to double-check our analysis, and we will thus be able to misrepresent the trial more effectively.

To ethicists who say it is unethical to re-examine trial data to make sure the analysis and conclusions are correct, perhaps you should divulge any and all conflicts of interests that you may have, specially connections to and gifts and remuneration from companies and research groups involved in clinical trials. Let's begin the ethics investigation with you.

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