How Big Pharma Is Corrupting the Truth About the Drugs It Sells Us | Alternet
Remember how appalled we felt as a society when we discovered that, for so long, we had been mistakenly taking Big Tobacco’s word that cigarettes are harmless? Rinse and repeat with lobbyists for Big Alcohol fear-mongering about legal weed. And again and again with a panoply of consumer-level commodities and goods.
Nowadays we have all these familiar worries, but about our drugs and medications instead. It’s become so bad that there’s now reason to believe Big Pharma is also colluding to poison the well of scientific inquiry.
The truth is, there are many examples of private industry paying for positive press from the scientific community. When you look closer at our spending priorities as a nation, it’s not entirely difficult to see why. As public funding for the sciences has fallen away, many scientists have had to pivot toward more consistent—and ethically fraught—sources of funding and stability as surely as politicians who, for want of public election funding, get buoyed by billionaires at $100,000-per-plate fundraising dinners.
The Fall of Accountable Science
Between 2011 and 2012, the New England Journal of Medicine published more than 70 “original studies” of newly FDA-approved and experimental drugs. Of these 70-plus reports:
Sixty received direct pharmaceutical company funding.
Fifty were written or co-written by a current employee of a pharmaceutical company.
Thirty-seven had lead writers who had, at some point, received speaking fees or other compensation from the subject of the study.
Up until about the 1980s, the federal government was the primary financier of scientific research in the world of medicine. In the ’60s and ’70s, the federal government had a 70 percent share of scientific research. In 2013, that number finally dropped below the 50 percent mark.